Friday, January 15, 2010

They have their own thoughts (Kahlil Gibran)

"We are Americans. We do the improbable. We beat great odds. We rally together to meet whatever challenge stands in our way. That's what we've always done -- and it's what we must do now. For the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, we must end the age of oil in our time."

Barack Obama
August 4, 2008
Lansing, Michigan

(Note: I placed the italics. I hadn't realized that Barack Obama had made this statement. -- am)

When my parents married in 1948, one of their wedding gifts was a copy of The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran. When I was a child, I used to look at the mysterious ethereal illustrations and wonder about the book. When I was in high school, I finally read the book from cover to cover and was surprised to find how clearly it spoke to me and my questions about life. After a disagreement with my mother, I asked my mother if I could read to her something that was important to me. We went out on the back porch and I read "ON CHILDREN" to her. I believe she understood that I didn't belong to her in the way I had before.

The lines that spoke clearest to me then were:

"Your children are not your children,
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself."


"You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you."

I must admit now that I was angry at my mother and thought that if she wouldn't listen to me, she would at least listen to the words of Kahlil Gibran.

Today the lines that touch me most are:

"For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams."

Although I'm old enough to be a great-grandmother, I have no children. Still, I can appreciate that there are two generations beyond mine whose souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, where those of my generation cannot visit, not even in our dreams. Will our generation's children, grand-children and great-grandchildren see the end of the age of oil in their time?

May it be so.

Thanks to Zhoen for posting "On Children" at her blog and inspiring my post.


Loren said...

I'm not a grand fan of Gibran, though he helped me get through Vietnam, but I also love the lines:

"Your children are not your children,
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself."

As a high school teacher I was less concerned with teaching my values than teaching kids to think for themselves, which often seemed to put me at odds with other high school teachers.

robin andrea said...

I never had children, but somehow still feel that we live in the house of tomorrow through the lives we've touched. I never met my paternal grandmother, but I have carried her in my heart all of my 57 years. It's what we do with love.

am said...

robin andrea -- Muchas gracias for your insight that our love does live in the house of tomorrow with our beloveds.