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I must have been around 19 when I first read Kahlil Gibran‘s words ‘On Children’. The opening line, ‘Your children are not your children‘, never ceases to amaze me. There’s a certain catching of the breath followed by a soft exhalation and with it comes the knowledge that what he says is not only true, but so beautiful.

It’s like a warm embrace, this poem by Gibran. You know that feeling when you go home to your mom, sit up on the kitchen counter, your legs swinging off the side of it, while she carefully measures out your tea in your favourite mug, with just a spoonful of sugar, just the way you like it? That’s the feeling I get when I read this writer.Β 

I’m a largely introspective person, as you can tell if you’ve been reading this blog of mine for some time now. Interestingly, my parenting journey, too, has been helped along this path thanks to Gy. Sure, I’ve lost my temper, snapped irritably when things didn’t go my way, sulked when I couldn’t sleep in Β beyond 6 am on a school morning, but the point is, I am learning as I walk this path.

Being a mother to a growing young girl comes with its own share of challenges and epiphanies. When I read this poem back in my teens, I marveled at the fluid language and the depth of emotion that was captured so beautifully. Today, when I read it, I can feel the way he reaches into my soul and touches upon that almost imperceptible feeling called motherhood.Β 

Isn’t it incredible how we try to hold onto or wield a certain power over our kids? We don’t intend to do it, but every time we say ‘I know better’ or ‘Just listen to me’, we inch closer to the idea of control. The scary bit? It only gets tougher as they grow older.

They morph into these tiny selves that know what they want and aren’t afraid to show it. Gone are the days of the cuddly babies who hung on your every word. It’s time for Ms.Personality to make an appearance.

Β It’s hard- that transition. For them and for us, it is a leap of faith into the unknown. Somewhere, somehow we can just hope that someone is out there, waiting to catch us. Every time I read Gibran, I am confident that there really is a higher power to do just that.

Letting go can be hard, but we need to. Most importantly because, our kids need it.



Categories: Parenting

Shailaja V

Hi there! I'm Shailaja Vishwanath, a blogger with 12 years of blogging experience and a parent to a teen. I work as a digital marketing and social media consultant. From positive parenting tips to useful productivity hacks, social media advice to blogging advice, you'll find them all right here. Welcome to my blog.


Rachna · July 1, 2015 at 2:52 am

An amazing quote and poem. Yes, they are not ours to keep. But you know what, I feel that in our journey as parents there are phases when we do know better, when they need discipline and boundaries. Then as they grow older we start loosening that control. In my opinion, I am a parent first and foremost, a friend later.

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 1, 2015 at 3:05 am

Agree with you there, Rachna. I doubt I can completely let go in terms of discipline, because there are times they need it too. It also helps them grow up as well-rounded individuals who show respect to their peers and elders. The poem of course is pure magic! I think the bigger lesson is that we must not tie our expectations down with our children, but allow them to explore things, make mistakes and learn on their own, with a bit of help from us, the parents. Parent first, here too πŸ™‚

Shilpa Gupte · July 1, 2015 at 3:13 am

Beautiful poem and a beautiful post! S, every time I read your post, I fall in love with you and your style of expressing your innermost thoughts with such an amazing simplicity and truthfulness! I could read this one a hundred times and still feel hungry for more!

Ls · July 1, 2015 at 4:00 am

Thats beautiful poem. And i guess, we need to let them go and become independent.

Sanch LivingLife · July 1, 2015 at 5:08 am

Interesting quote/poem…really makes you think and catches you by surprise when you first read it. I think it might be a shock to many a parent that their children are not theirs to own… πŸ™‚

G Angela David · July 1, 2015 at 10:05 am

Its a great quote ! always loved Kahlil Girbran and its a challenging quote for parents…. to love children deeply and at the same time assert and help them evolve as independent persons, requires a lot of patience and understanding.. · July 1, 2015 at 10:47 am

I don't know if I know better, as a parent. But yes, it's quite difficult to let go. Yet, we need to, I suppose. I suppose if you can find the perfect mix of 'letting go' and 'tightening your hold', that's what counts.

Vaishnavi Prasad · July 1, 2015 at 12:33 pm

Beautiful lines, explicitly ellobarated by ur thoughts on them. When I wonder why my girl isn't like me, I try seeing the benefits of not being me. But I can say out of experience that though kids tend to ignore u, every word sinks into their head and some day they realize it's values,like we did after we grew up to be parents ,and would start practicing them. Happy parenting!

Rajlakshmi · July 1, 2015 at 2:01 pm

I have often suffer from guilt … of not seeing my parents for so long. Although they sound as if it's cool even if it's an empty nest back home, but I know how much mom would love it,if we all were staying together, under the same roof. Breaks my heart if I start thinking too deep into it. Letting go is tough, tougher for parents.
Your words touched a chord. πŸ™‚

Jaibala Rao · July 1, 2015 at 4:10 pm

Letting go, the control freak in me says “No way! You cant do it.” but the Mom in me says, “You have to let go, Let him live his life”. Most of the times Mom wins, some times the Control Freak does, so all in all it is pretty balanced as of now. I wonder though what happens when he grows older?

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 1, 2015 at 5:25 pm

Shilpa, you warm my heart each time with your heartfelt compliments. Thank you for making this blogging journey so pleasurable πŸ™‚

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 1, 2015 at 5:26 pm

Thank you, Lata. Yes, it's harder than it sounds.

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 1, 2015 at 5:31 pm

Oh yes indeed. I doubt most of us can really cut the ties that bind, but to step back and watch them do what they can is another surreal feeling all its own. I'm getting there, slowly but surely.

Shailaja V · July 2, 2015 at 6:20 am

That is the balance we must strive for, Angela. Thank you so much!

Shailaja V · July 2, 2015 at 6:22 am

That mix, the balance, the Zen, is what we all strive for every single day πŸ™‚ Thank you, Sid!

DEESHANI BATRA · July 2, 2015 at 6:24 am

I didn't know that it was so tough for parents to let it go since I'm not one yet, but hats off to all the parents who let their children live their life how they actually want. Heartwarming post. πŸ™‚

Shilpa Gupte · July 2, 2015 at 7:41 am

Hi, my dear! I have nominated you for The Real Neat Award! You can read all about it here:

Shilpa Garg · July 3, 2015 at 12:41 pm

Such profound and beautiful words. Oh yes, letting go is a struggle for most parents and that is what creates issues later in their lives! While as kids we need to guide/guard/protect them, but as they grow older… giving them wings/freedom and stepping back should be the way forward!

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 13, 2015 at 1:59 pm

Yes, waiting for that 'some day' seems like an uphill task on most days, Vaishnavi, especially when that germ of defiance rears it head. I hope and pray that she will realise the value when the time is right. Thank you for reading.

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 13, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Letting go is really tough on the parents, Raj. We feel responsible for them. We feel compelled to protect them, nurture them. And when they want to be free, our selfish interests rebel. Ah well…

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 13, 2015 at 2:07 pm

We're always learning, Jaibala. It's tough, I tell you. I sometimes feel we've been thrown in the deep end and asked to swim for dear life πŸ™‚ But we'll figure it out. I promise.

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 13, 2015 at 2:12 pm

Thank you, Deeshani πŸ™‚

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 13, 2015 at 2:14 pm

Thank you Shilpa πŸ™‚

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 13, 2015 at 2:32 pm

Thank you Shilpa πŸ™‚

Santosh Namby · August 2, 2015 at 5:26 pm

Just love Gibran, and the way you have worked this quote is beautiful…..
And Shailaja, it was great meeting you at the Indiblogger meet πŸ™‚

Shailaja Vishwanath · June 20, 2016 at 3:07 am

Hey Santosh πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Equally lovely meeting you too!

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