On Children

I appreciate Khalil Gibran’s point of view about the rights and duties of parents in the poem, “On Children”. His poem contains both exclusive and inclusive explanations on what parents are expected to do or not to do.

 He restrains parents from treating their children as if they are a part of their properties. For example, he believes despite that parents give life to their children; they can’t claim owning them by trying to compel their ideas and thoughts to them. They can’t want their children to live the way they have lived, because children are the living creatures who have their own thoughts, ideas and attitudes. Parents can give their children their love and care; however, they can’t take their children’s soul for being their parents.

On the other hand, Gibran alludes to a delicate subject which is what parents are considered to do. He drops a hint that though parents should not try to dominate their children’s heart and mind, they are responsible for their future. He has used a good metaphor by calling the parents, bows — the bows that despite their intimacy with the arrows cannot hold them with themselves and should send the arrows as far as they can. They work with each other but they are not supposed to be with or for each other forever.

  Furthermore, these bows are owned and empowered by an archer. Considering Gibran’s religious point of view (as someone who has studied religion and ethic), this archer can be: God. Gibran believes that all parents are in the hands of the God who has aimed the infinite direction for the all of us. He wants each arrow to go beyond the limitation of place – the infinite; thus, he bends the bows using his great power to propel us to our destination. He likes to see us moving to the right direction and reaching there. And he likes our parents bearing the difficulties to help us initiate this journey.

Khalil Gibran has written this poem to remind all of us, the today’s children and tomorrow’s parents, the great and delicate responsibility of parents. They can lead their children, the arrows of the archer, to their eternal life if they manage to do their job successfully, without mixing what they are should do and what they should not. The more parents endeavor for their child, the more God likes them.

Zahra Saifey

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