Reflecting on Parenting

On Children

by Kahlil Gibran

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.


This poem is lyric to one of my favorite songs of all times, On Children, by one of my favorite singing groups of all times, Sweet Honey in the Rock. Listen to it here


I love this song because it reminds me of three important truths:

  1. Parenting is a form of stewardship. As a mother, I have been entrusted with a special gift from God (Psalm 127:3). I am responsible for the care and nurture of God’s earthly image bearer(s) (Genesis 1:27).

  2. Parenting requires release. As a mother, I am instinctively protective and possessive when it comes to my babies. I must remember that it is not a matter of giving my children to God; it is a matter of returning God’s children to Him with a Hannah-like heart. (1 Samuel 1)

  3. Parenting is an expression of love (John 3:16). As a mother, I attend to the needs of others and often neglect my own needs. The most neglected need is spending time with our heavenly Father just allowing him to love on us. For it is from God’s abundant love, we generously give.

REFLECTION: Listen again to On Children by Sweet Honey in the Rock here. Reflect on the following questions and receive fresh revelation of His love (1 John 3:1).

  • How am I caring for and nurturing God’s image bearer(s) through my parenting?

  • How am I releasing God’s children to Him with gratitude and humility?

  • How am I experiencing the Father’s unconditional love for me?

  • How am I expressing God’s love to my children?

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