Chapter 9: Your Children Are Not Your Children
But he was such a coward, he could not gather courage to approach another woman. All his great philosophy. And the same is the case with all other great philosophers. But nobody has looked into the psychology: why are they interested in absurd, meaningless problems and not in the real problems of life? Real problems need courage.
The world has known not a single woman who was a great philosopher. And how can a woman be a great philosopher? She wants to know: speak to us of Children, about marriage, about love. A woman has a certain authenticity, for the simple reason that all her interest is in the small matters of life, the intimate matters of life - matters which she has to face moment to moment.
Alas, it has been a great loss. The world is full of stupid philosophies, rooted in fear and cowardliness. It would help humanity immensely if the woman was listened to, if her questions were respected and answered not just through the head but through the heart.
A man’s question has no need of the heart. In what way is God connected with your heart? Or life beyond death? These are all thoughts in the head.
Remember this: Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet opens a totally new dimension to philosophy, gives credit and respect to small things of life - because life is made of small things and if you cannot solve them, forget all about great problems. How can you solve them? You are simply asking about them because you don’t want even to be aware of the real and the pragmatic problems of life.
And he said.
Listen very carefully, because very few statements exist in the whole literature of the world which have such beauty, such truth, such sincerity:
Your children are not your children.
A child is not a thing. You cannot possess a child. To say, “This is my child,” is to assert your ignorance.
Life can never be possessed. You can have it in open hands, but the moment your hands become closed fists, life has escaped out of them. Almost all the parents of the world have destroyed their children because they have claimed ownership. To own a child? You cannot create life, how can you own it? It is a gift from the abundance of existence. Be grateful that you have been chosen to be a vehicle.
The child has come through you but that does not mean he belongs to you. You have been nothing but a passage. If parents had remembered this small and simple truth, the world would have been a totally different place.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.