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kahlil gibran
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maturity
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guidance
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Your Children Are Not A Possession
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Your Children Are Not A Possession

Kahlil Gibran teaches us very wisely that children are life’s longing for itself. They are not a possession to be held but rather a blessing to be learnt from.

We can seek to live our life through the wonder of them but not have them live out our expectations and desires.

These thoughts to me are very real. From a position of adult maturity, and parental habit, it is easy to believe that we always know what is best for our children.

Watching their personalities develop from the earliest moments of their life, and laying onto them guidance and loving concern from the youngest of experiences, it is very easy to forget that we are interacting with an individual soul rather than an extension of ourselves.

I was just commenting to a mother on Facebook who has some angst over her son’s obvious enjoyment of being a cadet. I’m not here to start a debate on the pro’s and cons of the armed services. Each person has their own journey and the best way to reach their destination.

Come to think of it, that’s exactly my point.

Regardless of what our children choose to do in life there are a few things we can remember.

We are looking at their world through our own filters.

Everybody deletes, distorts and generalizes the experiences that come into their awareness. From this perspective we will (it’s unavoidable) influence our children and offer our guidance. We mustn’t, however, make their choices for them.

Life is the journey.

What our children ‘do’ in life is not their journey. The things they ‘do’ are the toolbox of experience that they will draw upon for the now and the future.

The tools in our box don’t define us. They facilitate the work that develops our self. These tools are helping our children become who they don’t know yet that they can be.

We don’t know what they can become any more than we know who we will be at the end of life. Glory in their growth without being the one who prunes their branches.

Gaining Wisdom

We have the wisdom that life has afforded us. So do our children. They haven’t reached any destination yet other than the one that is this moment. Trying to pour our wisdom into our children too quickly is like trying to add tea to a cup that is already full.

As another Street Author noted recently, some of the greatest lessons come from our children. Perhaps wisdom is like trying to quantify time.

I hope I am wise enough to remember my own wisdom. Lest I fail I will revisit Kahlil Gibran whenever I need a reminder.


Street Talk

Interesting and informative.

Reply
  about 2 years ago
MarleneW  

great article, can't help but wonder how i am doing in this department with my little boy.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Cindy, we all do the best we know how with the tools we have available to us! I'm sure your little boy feels very loved and as a parent I think if we can achieve this we have done the absolute best for our child that is possible.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Very good article. I love this line " it is very easy to forget that we are interacting with an individual soul rather than an extension of ourselves." Great words for sure.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Thank you Shawn. Glad you stopped by!

Reply
  about 5 years ago

A very nice article Heather but I keep wondering. Is it realistic? How possible is it that parents accept they do not always know what is best for their children? When they are young and even when they have their own families. Parents always have the benefit of experience but things change. Children grow up in amuck different world than the parents did. The wisdom is great but I can not say i have seen it happening anywhere around me

Reply
  about 5 years ago

What we often see around us is a lot of dysfunction. Parents who can't (or won't?) let go of their kids and extended families that meddle in each other's individual lives as if it was their right. Oh it has the potential to be a mine field... however, there are families who get on great and support each other as the children grow into adult hood and a new generation is added. What seems to work is when healthy boundaries are in place and parents are able to step back into a role of support and acceptance rather than directing and guiding (without being asked). Many of my articles have the element of "in an ideal world" and yet if awareness is not raised to the possibilities then there will never be positive change.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Good points. Well written! Indeed, each person has their journey and their own circumstances and tools. I like Gibran:-) Thanks.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Thanks Cynthia. I like him too.

Reply
  about 5 years ago
AJ  

This is some of the hardest advice to follow. My daughter, at 6, is now wanting to make more and more of her own decisions. There are times where I have to bite my tongue and let her make a mistake so she learns from them. It's so hard, but so important. Nicely written Heather and an article I will need to refer to from time to time.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

AJ I'm sure you know it all already without coming back to read my article. These things are merely a reminder! I don't know if this truly applies to children the age ours are at. I was more thinking of children who are getting older and actively making important decisions in life that potentially influence their course through life in serious ways. Of course it's nice to let younger children have a taste of self.... and that's a different thing again, or is it?

Reply
  about 5 years ago

What a wonderful article one that I can really get in to, having three grown kids, my baby now being 34, there was so much in their younger years that I felt I need to guide them towards and away from. Yet all three have grown to be successful in their work, marriages and child raising... It is not easy as a Grand parent to now stand once again and feel within you that they are not doing it right with their kids... Yet Linda and I did something right and we now stand hand over mouth and watch, yet we know that what they are doing is what they think is right and they are also probably going to raise great adults in the future... My own Father would still try to tell me what to do right up till he died, yet we had such a great relationship.. I try not to do that with my son.. and he is a senior manager within the company for whom he works, yet it is so difficult... What we think is right is not what they think and like me they will continue on their chosen path... But I do thank God for giving them to me, to lend for a while.. (too short a period I think ).. and now to sit with pride and know, some where, some how, I had a small influence in there some where.... Children are a blessing given us to improve who we are, whilst we try to improve who they are going to be..

Reply
  about 5 years ago

I can truly learn from your wisdom. I am still at that stage in life when I'm making all the decisions and expecting to be obeyed (my own little kingdom! lol) and yet I have also been on the receiving end of well meaning advice and observing parents who haven't let go even when their children are over 40! My own parents are a lot like you and Linda who have a hand over their mouths. I do appreciate it and it's because of this i tell my parents most everything and go to them for advice when I need it. After all these years I know their opinions most times without being told anyway and it's an open place to feel I won't be judged despite going on a different path to my parents. I think it's the insecurities of parenting (am I doing it right?!) that also makes us young parents abreact to sound advice. Any sensible comment is often misconstrued as a criticism that maybe I really don't have it all together and I'm 'wrong' just as my insecurities are telling me! What a mind field of emotions is parenting. Thanks for your wisdom.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

They are such a blessing and I feel for those that cannot have. I understand the sentiment of "am I doing it right?" But the one thing that says the most to me " tell my parents most everything and go to them for advice when I need it. After all these years I know their opinions most times without being told anyway and it's an open place to feel I won't be judged despite going on a different path to my parents" They did something right by instinct to have won your love and understanding.... whatever you are doing with your children is right... its all in the love and understanding between Mom and Child... the bond... that makes whatever you do, right....

  
  about 5 years ago

Thank you Rob. And I find children are very forgiving.

  
  about 5 years ago

I wholeheartedly, 100% agree with you Heather. I'm at this moment working on a similar article. Watch this space!

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Excellent! Can't wait to read Kim!

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Good article Heather, everyone has their own path in life, or rather each soul does, part of that path might be to make certain mistakes in order to grow .

Reply
  about 5 years ago

And are any experiences truly a mistake if we have grown by them?

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Exactly Heather!

  
  about 5 years ago
Golfspice  

Great thoughts and article heather!

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Thanks Golfspice!

Reply
  about 5 years ago
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