Our Children are Not Our Children

There’s something so magical about children. How they change so much every day. I look at Gabi, who is four and a half, and see how she’s evolving into this young girl. How she’s not my baby anymore, how she thinks, resonates, explains, understands and remembers. She remembers everything. It’s pretty amazing, and a little shocking to me, as I’m remembering gradually less and less. I tell Jared it must be the baby stealing my brain cells or something.

She’s got a fashion sense that runway models would envy her, and a style that is uniquely her own. Those who know me, knows that I have no style whatsoever, and am content with jeans and a t-shirt at all times. God knows where she picked up her skills. That is what fascinates me the most – how a child comes into this world as a unique being. I love Kahlil Gibran’s “On Children,”

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, “Speak to us of Children.” And he said:
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. 

The idea of my children not “belonging to me” was strange at first, but watching Gabi grow into this strong, proud, beautiful and kind young girl, made me realize how true it is. She came through me, but she’s not me. She’s very different from me in some areas, and very similar to me in others. She’s not me. She’s under my care, but she is not my possession.

“Give them your love, but not your thoughts…” To allow her, and the unborn, to form their own thoughts. To show them that to be themselves is the best they can do. And to allow them to be exactly who they are. To give them all the love and support in the world, if they make a choice in life that is not the same I would have made. To make sure they know that they are loved for who they are, and not for who they love, who they vote for or what carrier path they may choose. Gay or straight, black or white (we WILL adopt in the future), they will know that they are loved.

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.”

The greatest job, and the biggest responsibility, follows the role of being a parent. It is our job to not get in our children’s way. To not stop them from expressing who they are. To support them in expressing who they are. I read an article about a German father, whose five-year old son liked to wear dresses and skirts. He (the father) decided to support his son, and prevent talk and bullying by following in his son’s footsteps. When they go out walking together, they both wear skirts or dresses. I was so touched by that story, because to me there is no greater way of saying “I love you” than to fully support your child’s choices.

Every child is beautiful. Every child is unique. Every child is a new chance for humans to “get it right.” Every child is a part of our future. They are the ones with the power to change the world.

I’d like to applaud every single person working with children, in schools, preschools or the like, as well as all parents out there. You are doing the most important job there is.

I tear up as I watch my young daughter grow. To think that I get the honor of being a part of shaping the future. That I get to tell her of all the mistakes I’ve made, and suggest that she might take a different path (and love her if she goes out there and makes all the same mistakes anyway). I see her frustration at failing at something, and we get to remind her that success often follows a thousand failures… The most important thing is never giving up.

She makes me a better person. She gives me a reason to walk my talk. She challenges me, and through that I learn new ways of dealing with confrontation. Her impatience makes me more patient. After all, THAT I know where she gets it from… If I don’t improve as a person, as a parent, I make a weak “bow.” I have to keep growing and changing as she does, or she will have no use of me in a couple of years.

I’m lucky to be a parent together with my soul mate who understands me better than any other… Blessed doesn’t really cover it. My husband is one of those natural parents. You would think he’s done nothing else in his life. In the beginning it made me feel almost insufficient, until I got over myself (big ego in the way), and decided to learn from him instead. Now, we work as a team, supporting each other, lifting each other up as a parent-team should! I’m proud of what we have done so far, especially of Jared taking on the role as a step-father so effortlessly.

With a baby on the way, we will face a new set of challenges, less sleep and a lot of diaper changes, but we will also grow as a family in every way. More love, more cuddles, more learning for us grown ups! Every child is a miracle… This little one feels so strong already, it’s hard to put into words, but I know he/she is going to make it.

The situations that would normally have freaked me out a little, no job (for either of us), no money, and the prospect of what could be a physically tough pregnancy due to pelvic pain, now make me feel extremely blessed. For another couple of months, until we leave for our US adventure, I’m lucky enough to be able to take fully care of myself (mind/body/spirit) and the little one growing inside me, as well as form extra tight bonds with my husband and daughter. Every day we grow stronger as a family. With every challenge lies the potential for growth, and potential blessings too, if you choose to see them. I’m just plain grateful…

~ Sunniva

Follow our family’s journey on http://www.solgave.com or looking for animal care in NWA http://www.solgaveanimalsolutions.com

One thought on “Our Children are Not Our Children

  1. Sunniva, my God this is powerful! What an exposition on Kahlil Gibran’s “On Children”. So many times we see parents trying to live their children’s lives as an extension of their own as some kind of do over for things they wanted but didn’t accomplish in life. They would all do well to read and reflect on this. I’m the daughter of two high achieving parents. Even now in their final year of “working for the man” they are plotting on how to launch their own business that they can use to help parents learn how to reconnect with their children during their retirement. My folks weren’t perfect, no one is, but they did a great job of pushing me and my brother to aim high and to think for ourselves. I never felt that I had to achieve something because my mother couldn’t do it so it was all on me. That is so not fair to a child. My parents modeled excellence in the pursuit of knowledge, in service, in relationships, in stewardship, in faith practice, so when you say “blessed doesn’t seem to cover it” I’m right there with you. Thank you so much for sharing!

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