Ownership vs Stewardship

Came across this poem on the blog, my home is in empty spaces.

It strikes a chord in me, reminding me of the conflicts I have with my parents since childhood. Without a doubt, my relationship with them is filled with love. I have always feel blessed by how much my parents love me. And, I love them beyond anything else. But then, it is also filled with conflicts. How often have I wish that their perspective of parenting allow me more room for freedom and self development, and less of conforming to expectations in the narrow boundaries of their traditional views.

I remember conversations with my cousin and X, centering on our respective parents. The gist of it was, we think that our parents being traditional and conventional, holds on to the belief in ownership of their children (us). They have certain expectations of us submitting to them because “We are your parents and it is our right to tell you what to do. And as parents, we always know best. So, you should obey us and do what we ask.” Whereas, we see a different form of belief among our peers’ parents whose belief centers on the stewardship of their children as stated in the bible. They see themselves as keepers of their children and recognise that their children have their own life path to follow and that they have a right to be making important life choices on their own.

Of course, we have no doubt that whatever beliefs and actions stemmed out of parental love. And whatever, our lives turn out to be, still manifest from our choices. But, maybe, just maybe, the process will be easier if we are given more leeway for individual choices. Well, at least, for myself, there is a lesser need for my rebellious steak that is still smothering somewhere beneath the surface, ever ready to flare up if necessary. Maybe, that extra effort which is spend fighting against their expectations could have been spent creating more opportunities and experiences, creating a slightly different me. Well, just maybe.

If you ever come across this, mum. Please know that I do love you and appreciate everything that you have done for me. And I do know that both of you have given me the best possible within your capacity.

Poet Khalil Gibran:

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.


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