Your Children Are Not Yours

I heard about this poem this week and I think it explains so beautifully the real relationship between parents and children.

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.

In ACA you learn that your parents are merely a vehicle through which you were born and that your true parent is your Higher Power (what ever that means to you). In other words, your parents are not your real parents. Why is this important to understand?

We are born with no understanding of an “other”. What we experience and the world around us are one. As we grow older we begin to form an ego (identity) and the concept of an “other” begins to take shape. We also begin to believe that power is outside of us and we live our days according to who has that power (parents, guardian, teachers, older siblings, God, etc.).

As children we also learn who we are from the people who raised us. Am I good? Lazy? Bad? Stupid? Smart? Creative? Not worthy of your time? Worth your time? Our identity is the created according to who raised us and what we were taught about us and we become adults living from that script, even if we make certain that we will never be like “them”. We live life from the identity of a false self.

It is a false self because we are not our parents (or any one else for that matter). Likewise, for parents, your children are not your children. The goal then is to re-member who you are by taking the journey back into your true self.

According to David Richo; There are five things (The 5 A’s) each child needs in order to maintain a true identity:

  • Attention to them and their feelings
  • Accepting them for who they are
  • Being appreciated and valued
  • Affection
  • Allowing them to develop in their own way

When I saw this list I almost cried. The only thing I received was affection, and even then it was rare or typically happened when my dad was drinking. Why is it important to know this? Because it allows be to continue to shed the myth that “Something is wrong with me”. I am not “wrong” or “broken”. I am simply someone who lived under a false self, like my parents did, and their parents, did, and so on, and so on.

The more I re-parent myself the more I give myself the five A’s, the more I heal those old stories and debunk those old myths. and I go further in my journey back to my true self.


4 thoughts on “Your Children Are Not Yours

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  1. This poem helped me gain perspective and guidance through my childrens’ teenage years. I kept it posted on my refrigerator for daily reference.

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