"You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with his might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable."
In the midst of the stress of planning the upcoming school year, I happened to read "The Prophet" for the first time. I chose the book after reading about the effect it had on Johnny Cash, and discovered that I was already familiar with some of the content; it is quoted often. This beautiful excerpt from Gibran's poetic essay on children and parenting has been both inspiration and encouragement to me as I prepare myself to educate and nurture my sons this year.
It reminds me that I'm not passing my own thoughts and ideas on to my boys, but teaching them how to think for themselves. There is a future ahead of them that belongs to them alone, and it's my job to prepare them to go on ahead without me.
My goal this year, and my prayer, is to be my children's stable bow.
Good luck to all of my fellow homeschoolers, classroom teachers, and parents this year!