Thirty-four years ago today my wife and I welcomed a beautiful, first-born, child into the world. The thrill of watching a child grow from an infant, to an inquisitive child, and to a wonderful adult has been one of the most profound experiences of our lives. All of this has reminded us of some simple poetry we read long ago:

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. ~ Kahlil Gibran

And what advice should we give our children? The best advice any parent can give their children is that they should strive for a meaningful life filled with joy, love, and inner peace. The best advice for parents is to listen to your children, they have a lot to teach you too.

So happy 34th birthday to our firstborn, and thanks for all you have taught us. We love you. Live long and prosper.

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