Today is the 4th birthday of my two youngest children, Rachel and Nathan, I have spent some time pondering how to express my love for them, a love so deep and profound, completely unconditional. Unfortunately language skills are not really my strong point. I can feel the love but am unable to express the depth of it through words, so I have borrowed from Khalil Jibran, a Lebanese poet from the later part of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth century, below is a short quotation from his work ‘The Prophet’ which seems to capture what parenthood is all about:

Of Children

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but are 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 arrrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

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