Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Raising boys

Foseti ponders how to raise boys.  It's an interesting post, and more pensive that Foseti usually runs to.  You should RTWT.

Ten years ago, I would have had a lot to say on the subject.  A typically Borepatchian post, filled with references both ancient and obscure, a hat tip to one of the great quotes from out Western intellectual tradition, and an excess of self-assuredness.  Then the last decade happened, and I learned the real meaning of the saying If you want to hear God laugh, just tell him your plans.

#1 Son and #2 Son are doing just fine, thank you very much.  Grown (or growing) to Honorable Manhood.  I suspect more of their own doing than of mine.

And so I'll just offer this to young fathers: Your sons are always watching you, and learning from you.  I suspect that this applies to daughters, too, but have no direct experience in that.

When the hair on the back of your neck stands up, you'll know that you understand me precisely.

Kalil Gibran said it better:

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.
When the hair on the back of your neck stands up, you'll know that you understand him precisely.

You're welcome.


Old NFO said...

Yep, girls DO watch too... as both my daughters have reminded me...

Dave H said...

Or like my mother-in-law told me once, "The kids won't listen, but they sure as hell watch."

And you're right about daughters. One of the things they watch is how you treat their mother. Do it right, treat her well, and they won't settle for less from their own husbands. Treat her badly, and they'll come to believe they deserve no better.

ASM826 said...

Nicely done.

Cam said...

As a father of three boys I can only agree. I love that poem and while I have heard it before I never knew where it was from. It helps to focus the process of parenting and particularly being a father.

Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. My hair stood up at the end of the first couplet! I am an adolescent psychologist, If I could teach parents this I'd have to find a new job.