Our Children Are Not Our Children

By Alison October 25, 2008 4 Min Read


"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, yet 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, not even in your dreams.

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

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday."

Kabril Gibran

All of you who know me, know that I do not have faith. It is not that I am not blessed with spiritual belief but more that my personal belief is just that: a personal matter, and the very thought of organised religion continues to make me shudder.

That said I live my life sandwiched between a church and the little church school linked to it that my son now attends and it affords me a rich sense of community I would not now choose to live without. However nothing could have prepared me for the influence that community would have upon Finn. While I choose not to believe, as a Mummy I understand that I am responsible for offering Finley the chance to make his own decisions, and thus it is my duty to let him forge his own path through a world that offers conflicting truths at every turn, without trying to influence him in any way at all..

It is half term. Finley has achieved all manner of things, from having his picture in the newspaper with the African children’s choir,who, until he met made him quake in his boots with fear (Mummy they are gonna be naked and bang drums so loud they will break the ceiling and even the men wear grass dresses and Mummy they are from SCOTLAND!!!) to winning his green martial arts belt with a performance his instructor described as fantastic, and sitting me down one long evening to tell me about twenty situations in which he had "feelings" (Mummy remember when I got stuck up the climbing frame? I felt SCARED cos I couldn’t get down and EMBARRASSED cos all the other kids could. And remember when I fell in love with that lady from Wales on the telly and I cried cos she was sad and you laughed? Mummy I felt LOVE then and I felt ASHAMED for crying and EMBARRASSED cos you knew I felt LOVE…). He has in short been a little bit wonderful and I wanted him to know that I was aching with pride. So yesterday on the first day of half term I told him we could go shopping and he could have anything in the whole wide world and he said…

"I want Lego Batman for my Nintendo, a singing toothbrush and a bible please."

and I said….

"Lego Batman, a singing toothbrush and a pardon?"

"A bible Mum. Jesus’s book, so we can read it at bedtime"

Oh hells bells. Of all the people in all the world to have a religious son I was not she, but the heart want’s what it wants.and so my little munchkin and I went shopping and he marched into Waterstones and asked a terribly nice man for the Bibles and he and this book selling stranger sat on the floor and chose a lovely illustrated version together and then we went and bought Lego Batman and a toothbrush that beams the songs from Jungle Book right into his brain and I wandered around befuddled by the notion that here was a child the living embodiment of me and yet not really me at all.

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

And so I am striving. Because this little boy so very unafraid of being who he is, and so absolutely willing to share his abundance of "feelings" has much to teach me.

I don’t really understand why it scares me.

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