…I am the bow and my children are the arrows.
This belief is derived from one of my favourite parts of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet…
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.
I was chatting with Mark Silver, Randi Buckley and Lea Woodward yesterday on Twitter about home-education, and it struck me that, the cornerstone of my educational philosophy, is my belief in my role as a parent to be the bow that launches my children into their future.
I have home-educated my kids from the beginning. And so, more than likely, have you. I held the space for them as they learned to crawl, walk, run, dance. I shared words and wisdom and wonders, and they shared the same with me. I introduced them to the world step-by-step and I supported their sometimes tentative, sometimes cautious, explorations of their environment.
Together we discovered rainbows and puddle-jumping, dandelion wishes and the art of blowing bubble. Together we followed trails of ants, we retraced footsteps pressed in soft wet sand, we grew seedlings, picked strawberries, cradled caterpillars gently in soft pink palms.
And then we decided just to keep on going. Instead of learning how to read, how to add, how to find Japan on a map, how to form letters with fat pencils held in chubby hands, in a classroom, our learning continued at home. And it still does to today. Only now the focus is on ratio and architectural drawing, Georgian dress and modernist painting, Cretaceous creatures and Jacobite rebellions.
This decision was never taken with the intention of keeping them cosseted, held close, tied to apron strings. It was to liberate them from an educational system structured according to political and industrial agenda. It was to give them the freedom to become the gorgeous open-minded, quirky, open-hearted individuals that they are without the need to conform to the ideals of an artificially engineered social peer group.
It is with true aim that I let these arrows fly, while I hold strong and steady. And it is with enormous pride and intense humility that I stand back and watch them claiming their tomorrows…
A few resources…
- Changing Education Paradigms – Sir Ken Robinson
- Stop Stealing Dreams – Seth Godin
- The Child-Driven Education – Sugata Mitra
- If I Should Have A Daughter… – Sarah Kay
- My articles on Home-Education for Location Independent