Your Children Are Not Your Children

When I first read these lines in the ‘Road Less Travelled’ by M.Scott Peck, quoted from the original writings of Khalil Gibran, I was confused. What are you saying? My children are my children, I gave birth to them and I did what it takes to grow them in to adults. However after listening to it and reflecting on it, I realised how profound these words were. I have created a video with these words of wisdom as you see embedded in this blog. I recommend you watch and listen to the words in the video, reflect on it and then read the rest of the blog.

I believe the impact this video creates is different from person to person. I also believe the impact this video creates for you is determined by the journey of your life so far, where you are in your life now and your aspirations for the journey ahead. Therefore I feel the best contribution I can make is to write about what this poem means to me. Perhaps that might give you another perspective for you to reflect on, perhaps nourish your perspective and move you on to further reflection.

Let me reflect on the verse in two parts;

“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 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 even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward not tarries with yesterday.

As I saw my three daughters growing in to become beautiful, graceful, intelligent, confident, loving and caring young ladies, I realised that they were all unique and had amazing lives they were longing to live. The three of them had their own passion and purpose in the areas of political science, fashion and culinary respectively. What an amazing contrast. Thankfully I had read these words when my daughters were very young and had been a student of the notion of purpose. These helped me to let them to grow into the life they were born to live, not to make them follow my profession or do what I believed was best for them.

I realised they belong to the process of life and came through me and not from me. They are miracles that cannot be created by me. It was my responsibility to provide them a secure and nourishing environment to grow, but not to give them my thoughts. They had their own unique ways of thinking. Parenting them was educating for me and my wife, learning how they think and learn. We only housed their bodies as their souls belonged to a higher energy force.

I realised that I was trying to be like them as they were much more talented than I was and it was a joy learning from them many times more than they would have learnt from me. In the middle of writing this I paused to play a card game with my youngest daughter while watching a talent show going on TV. It was amazing how much she knew about types of dances, musical instruments, methods of singing, names of coaches and the best coach/performer fit etc., that I did not know.

The other part of the verse is;

You are the bow 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 arrow 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.

My life experience confirms that I am the bow that is responsible to send my children, the arrows in to the future. The more the bow bends the further the arrows travel. Me as the bending bow is synonymous with the ‘stretching’ I had to do to give the best grounding for my daughters. It was about stretching in the areas of learning, balancing demands, dealing with challenges, working, earning and teaching to ensure they, the arrows go far and wide. And as in the last line of verse I realised that the ‘archer’, the God Almighty, loves me as much she loves my children.

I hope this helps you to reflect and make sense of your life.

Wish you purposeful living.

The Inspiring Leader

Leadership – A poem by SpatulaRead by Mathew Coger

As you listen to this poem, reflect on your current attitude about leadership. Does this move you into thinking of doing what you are doing as a leader or to change your leadership approach? What baby steps would you take to reinforce your good leadership behaviours and/or transform.

Let the Daffodils Heal You

Daffodils – William Wordsworth

As you listen to this poem, reflect on the wonders of nature and let it heal your pensive mood or broken heart.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

About the poet — William Wordsworth (1770 — 1850) was a major English Romantic poet who helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature. He was born in Cockermouth, England. His poetry was mainly focused on the nature, children, the poor, common people. Wordsworth was Britain’s Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death in 1850.

Do We Keep Writing or Re-Read What We Wrote?

A Pen, A Paper, and A Purpose – Isbah Nasir.

A Poetic spoken word piece that explore the question: what is the purpose of life? and explores the decisions we make that shape our lives.

As you reflect on these words, a powerful line within it to reflect is; “Just keep writing, keep filling in the chapters on the pages of your life and don’t look back because if you keep regretting and rereading you won’t move past and you miss that final ending at last”.

What has passed has passed. Everything that happened has given us some insights to assist us in our quest for our purpose. The next step we take, using the learnings of the past or not, will help us get more insights in our quest. Turning the page and moving on seems more meaningful that turning back and regretting.

Reflect on your life so far to make sense of your higher purposes and use that information to take your next step in your quest for purpose.

How You Lived Will Epitomise Your Death

How Did You Die? – Edmund Vance Cooke

Reflect on the deeper meaning of this poem as you listen to it and read the lyrics below. How did you respond to trouble times? What did you do when you fell down? What is real success & failure? How would you face life’s challenges from now onwards?

Read by Shane Morris – Full Poem:

Did you tackle that trouble that came your way

With a resolute heart and cheerful?

Or hide your face from the light of day

With a craven soul and fearful? 

Oh, a trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce,

Or a trouble is what you make it,

And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts,

But only how did you take it? 

You are beaten to earth?

Well, well, what’s that!Come up with a smiling face.

It’s nothing against you to fall down flat,

But to lie there-that’s disgrace. 

The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce

Be proud of your blackened eye!

It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts;

It’s how did you fight-and why? 

And though you be done to the death, what then?

If you battled the best you could,

If you played your part in the world of men,

Why, the Critic will call it good. 

Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,

And whether he’s slow or spry,

It isn’t the fact that you’re dead that counts,

But only how did you die?

Living Life To The Fullest as the Captain of Your Life

O Captain Mu Captain – Walt Whitman

Reflect on the deeper meaning of this poem as you listen to it and read the lyrics below. Who is the captain of your life? How will you live to be able to be happy on your last day feeling that that you lived it all.

O Captain, my Captain our fearful trip is done
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people are exulting,  
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring  
But O heart! heart! heart!  
O the bleeding drops of red,  
Where on the deck my Captain lies,  
Fallen cold and dead.  

O Captain, my Captain (x3)

O Captain, my Captain rise up and hear the bells  
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding  
For you they call (the swaying mass)
their eager faces turning (their eager faces turning)
Here Captain! dear father!  
This arm beneath your head  
It is some dream that on the deck, 
You’ve fallen cold and dead. Dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still  
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will  
The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done  
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with this object won
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!  
But I, with mournful tread,  
Walk the deck my Captain lies,  
Fallen cold and dead. Fallen cold and dead.

Wake Up and Convert Dreams in to Reality

Wake Up – A Poem by Jesse Oliver

As you listen to this powerful poem, let the words touch you deep inside so that you can wake up and turn your dreams in to reality. Reflect on the good thoughts you dream of, that goes to sleep when you wake up. Think of a baby step to take for you to live those dreams.

Everything is Waiting for You – Experience it All.

Everything is Waiting for You – Poem by David Whyte

As you listen to this poem, reflect on the wonders of the world that we experience every day. Reflect on how we take them for granted or just don’t notice the wonder in them. Imagine if you pay attention. Everything is waiting for you, go experience all of it.

EVERYTHING IS WAITING FOR YOU – Words

Your great mistake is to act the drama as if you were alone. As if life were a progressive and cunning crime with no witness to the tiny hidden transgressions. 

To feel abandoned is to deny the intimacy of your surroundings. 

Surely, even you, at times, have felt the grand array; the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding out your solo voice. You must note the way the soap dish enables you, or the window latch grants you freedom. 

Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.

The stairs are your mentor of things to come, the doors have always been there to frighten you and invite you, and the tiny speaker in the phone is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the conversation. 

The kettle is singing even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots have left their arrogant aloofness and seen the good in you at last. All the birds and creatures of the world are unutterably themselves.

Everything is waiting for you.

How are Great People & Trees Made?

Good Timber by Douglas Malloch – Read by Mark O’Keeffe

As you listen to this poem (words below), reflect on what your challenges and struggles have done for you?

The tree that never had to fight
     For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
     And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
     But lived and died a scrubby thing.

The man who never had to toil
     To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
     Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
     But lived and died as he began.

Good timber does not grow with ease,
     The stronger wind, the stronger trees,
The further sky, the greater length,
     The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
     In trees and men good timbers grow.

Where thickest lies the forest growth
     We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
     Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
     This is the common law of life.