Tomorrow…they are already there
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.
– Kahil Gibran
This is one of my favorite poems. It is such a great message to parents. So often, we want to live vicariously through our children, but as parents, we have to let our children follow their own dreams. Instead, we guide them through childhood to find their place in tomorrow. In our educational system, we are keeping our students in yesterday. We still send them to brick and mortar buildings. We place them with kids their age. We continue to grind away at rote learning for tests. The students, however, are not there. No…they have already left for tomorrow. For as Gibran states: “For life goes not backward, nor tarries with yesterday.” Students today are living in another world from their parents. They are the children of technology. They see the world in a different way. As we continue to fumble with the past, they have moved on. The only problem is our schools are holding them back. Instead our schools must be “The bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.” They must leave our archaic way of learning and set out on a new path. We must let students be grouped by ability, not age. They must have all the tools of technology at their disposal. They must have mentors that allow them access to the world of business, especially those companies that innovate. We must no longer keep kids at a desk for hours at a time. The world is at their fingertips. The tablet can travel with them. They must do, not just listen. It is time to reinvent education in America. Let’s quit wasting time in the past. We may never catch up with our students, but certainly we can see the world through their eyes. We see our kids falling behind other countries in test scores, but we are not other countries. America has always been the innovator. Let’s do what we do best. Let’s make education work our way. In Gibran’s words, “The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite.” Our schools need to be the archer that sends our kids forth to tomorrow with an excitement for the future. A future they are prepared to tackle with confidence. As Gibran stated so perfectly, “For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow.” America’s future.