And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said

“Speak to us of children”

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

You are the bows 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 arrows 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