Whose Children?

Reading the poem, “On Children” by Khalil Gibran led me to the state of dilemma. His ideas are somewhere acceptable and somewhere very hard to assimilate with. He says parents are just a means to bring a new life to the world but they aren’t the one who bring life from within themselves. Furthermore, he argues that parents can give love but not thoughts to their children. From individual point of view, that’s true because every individual has own thoughts. However, speaking scientifically, parents live inside their children. Their genes pass their characteristics, appearances and many more traits to their children. Thoughts of children are often guided and influenced by their parents.

The most concerning thing for me is that Gibran averts parents from condemning their children as their children. He states that “They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself”. Then what about the pain and suffering a mother bears conceiving her baby and holding the one on her womb for nine months? We know a baby grows from the fetus that is formed through ovulation cycle. So, can’t a mother claim her baby as her baby? Moreover, he comes forward with his argument that parents just house the bodies of their children but not the souls. Here, he tries to remain indifference to the soul inside the baby letting it remain as a mystery. On some point, we all agree the issue of soul as a mystery.  Even though can we neglect the process inside the womb a baby undergoes to take a human shape and human life?

I agree with Gibran that parents try to fiddle with the changing time but don’t try to make their children like themselves. It’s so because time never goes backward. In the later part of the poem, Gibran uses simile of bows and arrows to depict the relationship between parents and children. He equates parents to bows and children to arrows. This seems to appear quite pleasing. At the same time, he uses this simile to escape away from the criticism of undermining parents’ credit for procreating children in the first part of the poem. He brings the concept of God and tries to protect himself saying that God loves both his bows and arrows equally.

With all these agreements and disagreements, I still linger with some questions. Are parents simply a machine to produce children? Can’t they claim their children as their children? What do you think?


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