Life’s Longing

Mother and child at sunset in Oceanside

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not 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 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.

28 Comments on “Life’s Longing

  1. I’ve read and reread this over the years. I tried to raise my children up to be their own. I don’t own them, and I can’t tell them how to be. I only want them to be happy in their choices.


  2. “Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.” This part really struck a chord with me! Desire is the catalyst for creation. Or at least it seems that way to me. This entire poem was a “winner” though. Thanks so much 🙂


  3. ‘Our children are life’s longing for Itself’. I have loved the words for so many years now. I try to remember this while raising mine.
    Beautiful, how you brought this back to me…


  4. My mother always said, Dieu vous a été prêté…You are both here only for a period, to nurture, to love and educate and let you go. She never made me feel obliged to her although I was so close to her. I`ve tried to do the same with my children.


  5. I never wanted children because I simply don’t like them….
    unless I can pick them up at noon, take them to the Zoo, and drop them off at mom & dad’s at 6:00………LOL


  6. Very nice words and Beautiful Picture, thank you very much Brenda….💗💗💗


  7. His poetry found a place in my heart when I was very young and he has cared exceptionally well for that place over the years. I couldn’t have asked for a finer tenant.


  8. Love, love, love this one. I’ve included it with every gift I give to new parents for the past 25 years!! This is the single piece of writing that has most guided my parenting.


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