Khalil Gibran wrote one of the most beautiful poems ever written about children. I quote a fragment of it here, a couple of verses, from memory (please forgive me if I make any mistakes –I don’t have the book with me.)
Your children are not your children
they are the sons and daughters of life
lover of itself.
They come not from you,
but of 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 shelter their bodies,
but not their souls, for they
live in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit,
even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them
because life does not go back
or dwell on yesterday.
I read this poem before I had had children, and was moved by its beauty. The poem continues, and I strongly suggest you look for the work of the Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran. It’s moving, lyrical, extremely beautiful, and profoundly spiritual though not dogmatic.
Today, I know that Khalil Gibran expressed it as it is. And that they are also the Meaning in my life. And the finest teachers it has ever given me. Not because they give us free lessons, but because they give us the greatest of any gift we can ever receive: to learn to love and become better people so that we can be with them in the best possible way until they fly off, beating their own wings -or whenever they need us.