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Your children are not your own, they are God’s sons and daughters.

They come through you but not from you and though they are with you they do not belong to you.
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 don’t seek to make them like you for life moves forward and doesn’t dwell on yesterday.

Your children are living arrows, ready to be sent forth.
You are not the archer; you are the bow.
God is the Archer and He sees their mark upon the path ahead. He bends you with His might so that they may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness for the Archer delights in an arrow that flies true. He also delights in a bow that bends willingly.


Adapted from Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1968) p. 17.