The Prophet got one thing wrong
Updated: Nov 11, 2021
If you were to ask me my top ten favourite poems, they would surely include some of the old classics. 'If' by Rudyard Kipling, 'Do not go gently into that goodnight' by Dylan Thomas and 'On Children' by Kahlil Gibran. (The Prophet) And although I probably love the message in 'On Children' more, I think that much of the sentiment is changing. The poem was written at a time when children often didn't survive passed infancy, and life expectancy was between 35 and 45 years of age depending on where you lived. Generations passed quickly. Families passed, changed and renewed at a rapid rate. There was not as much 'overlap' between generations. This is reflected in the poem.
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 Prophet tells that we cannot go into the future where our children are going. And this is in the most part, true. But more and more, technology is emerging that can take us further into the future. Today it is more common for children to meet their Great Grandparents. There are certainly more years of overlap between generations.
Whether it is better medicine, anti ageing or downloading our brains to some form of Artificial Intelligence, man will always try to stretch his time. The beauty of this poem is the recognition that you send your children off into their own time, their own life, their own decisions, and that children are the future and the destiny. No one would disagree with that sentiment. No one wants to 'cramp their kid's style'. However, there is something compelling about providing your family mental sustenance for their journey into the future. That is, providing your children and your grandchildren, your thoughts, wisdom, best wishes and love for this ongoing life journey that you started them on. And in this one sense, you can and should, go into the future with them. The journey of mankind is long in a generational sense. But very short in the universal sense. Our parental responsibilities may seem onerous at times, but in reality it is a small blip on the cosmic timeline. But it is love that brought us here, and love that will sustain our children on their own journey. And why not provide the precious memories that can help this love stay strong and alive in their minds. At Digilooms today, we believe that there is an opportunity to make the gap between the generations less, and understanding between them, more. We see the opportunity to know your ancestors, yourself and your descendants better. Digilooms TimeCapsule and LifeScripts helps you give your children and their children, and their children, something valuable from the past to the future with love.