We’ve been thinking about the role of “wonder” in the lives of children. Today, I want to share these lines from Kahlil Gibran, author of The Prophet.

 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.

One of the things I take from Gibran’s words is a sense of the great mystery of the progression of life from one generation to the next. I just spent a week with my 93-year-old mother, asking her questions about her life and hearing stories I’ve never heard before—stories that helped me understand her (and myself) better even at this age!

I think Gibran is telling us: Don’t take these children for granted! There’s always more going on in them than you know. Every child is a mystery. (Which might help explain some of the crazy, annoying things they sometimes do!)