The Bow and the Arrow

The poem “On Children,” by Kahlil Gibran, addresses one the most common issues that most families struggle with: difference between generations. Although the children receive their genes from parents, Kahlil Gibran believes that parents shouldn’t assume that their children belong to them. He says parents can give their love to their children but they cannot expect their children, who are going to live in the future, to have the same thoughts and beliefs as them, to obey them, and live like them.

This exact issue is the cause of many conflicts among the parents and teenage or youth in many families, especially in our era. For instance, in many developing countries, children want to have fashionable hairstyle like their favorite actor or singer, while their parents hate those hairstyles and it seems very strange to them if their children wear torn trousers similar to David Bekham’s. When the children talk about their foreign friends in Facebook and the funny links they share, parents reminisce their memories of youth and their friends by looking at old photo albums.  Parents wait half of their life to see their sons and daughters wearing black suits as grooms or white gowns as brides, but their children simply refuse to marry because they are not sure they can live forever with their boyfriend or girlfriend. Mothers expect their daughters to become a good housewife and serve their in-laws in a very proper way as she had done in the past. However, she blames her daughter who wants to divorce her husband because she thinks they no longer understand each other. The Father feels he has wasted his life over his newly married son who wants to live independently in a separate house or apartment. The father had made his own father happy the day he brought his wife to the house. As the parents spend whole their life bringing up and supporting the children, they come to believe that their children completely belong to them. Therefore, they feel strong authority over their children.

Kahlil Gibran, however, says parents should accept the fact that their children have a different world, for they live in the future. He depicts parents as an arrow through witch children are sent forth toward their future. I think if parents stop blaming their children for their different lifestyle or ideology and try to be close friends to their children instead of acting like owners, they will come to know their children’s world better. It doesn’t matter if they walk through different paths as long as they love each other and care for each other.

2 Responses to The Bow and the Arrow

  1. fmoriam says:

    I agree with you to some extents. It is true that sometimes parents want to control their children’s lives. They don’t like the changes in their children’s life and wants them to lead life according to their advice. These things sometimes irritates the new generation and the separate themselves from their parents. In your response I can also see a slight support to the parents when you said about mothers blaming their daughters for getting divorced and fathers’ expectations to their sons about staying together. Surely, parents spend their whole life to see their children established. As a result, it is fair enough that they think their children belong to them. If they want to have some control over their children, it is not harmful for the child I guess. If the daughter had listened to her mother, she may not have to get divorced. Moreover, things are changing nowadays. Parents are giving their children freedom to find their own way. Mothers not only want their daughter to be a good housewife but also self-dependent. So, I think it’s okay if the parents want to have some control, but not in a suffocating way.

  2. roksanahasib says:

    Hi Masooma. First i want to say that i have also written a response on this poem. I really like the poem and the way the poet has showed the relationship parents and children are supposed to share. Although my response was quite different than yours, i agree that we both have a same perspective to share. I appreciate the way you have showed the cionflict that parents and children used to have nowadays. I also agree with you that in order to lead a peaceful life it is very important for the parents to understand their childeren. However, i think that the implication of this poem is far more than just the conflict between parents and children. The main thing it tells about is that how God use human beings and create relationship among them in order to run the generations of human forward. Thus it tells us that the relationship what parents and children share is just a temporary relation created by god to continue the existance of humankind. I think i have been able to make my ideas clear to you.However, nice response.

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