“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” — excerpt from The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
by Allen L Roland
I got a touching father’s day card today from my youngest daughter Kelly and she told me that I have been an inspiration to her by always being honest and living my life to the fullest. She also thanked me for being her father which reminded me of something I’ve always believed ~ Khalil Gibran’s quote about our children being the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
As such, I am indeed the bow that has sent forth four children, as living arrows, into this imperfect world. I have been far from perfect as their Dad but I have always loved and cherished them on their separate flights.
They may not all agree with that statement ~ but a wise father learns to accept his mistakes and celebrate his triumphs hoping that his children will learn from those failings and be inspired by his victories.
It reminds me of a perceptive quote from Thomas Wolfe ~ Naked and alone we came into this unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth. Which of us has known his brother? Which of us has looked into his father’s heart? Which of us has not remained forever prison pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone?
I have learned that standing alone and singing my song is really belonging ~ I do not see myself as a stranger and alone on this earth ~ and evidently that is a valuable lesson I have passed on to my children.
All my children are adults now and they, in turn, have sent forth five living arrows into this world. They, as parents, are also not perfect but they are launching and cherishing their children on their separate flights.
As a father, I find myself increasingly becoming an interested observer of this family archery for each of my children has seemingly taken my strengths and discounted my failings in becoming a stable bow to send forth their own children.
But what makes a stable bow? Is it always being there for my children? Is it setting goals and principles for them to live by? Is it giving them what my father gave me?
Since I never knew or experienced my father ~ my parents were divorced shortly after my birth ~ I can only draw on what my grandfather gave me during the first six years of my life, and in that sense ~ my children have been blessed.
For my grandfather gave me the gift of himself ~ the joy, exuberance and magic of his presence still lives within my heart to this day.
And I, in turn, have given my children the same gift and hopefully they will pass it on to their children.
As such, the stable bow of fatherhood may well be the honest gift of myself for in having the courage to be inner guided and live my dreams ~ I have not only shown my children the path of the infinite but I have also fully shared the struggles, joy and delight of the flight.
About the Author: Allen L Roland is a Freelance Alternative Press Online columnist and psychotherapist. He is a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who also shares a daily political and social commentary on his web site at AllenRoland.com. He also guest hosts a Truthtalk, a national radio show that airs monthly. He is available for comments, interviews, speaking engagements and private consultations via email at [email protected].
Allen L Roland, PhD is a Freelance Alternative Press Online columnist. He is also a heart-centered spiritual consultant, author, and lecturer who also shares a weekly political and social commentary on his website at AllenRoland.com. He also guest hosts Truthtalk, a national radio show that airs monthly. He is available for comments, interviews, speaking engagements as well as private consultations via email at [email protected].
Roland is a twin who was born in Boston, Massachusetts, survived a dysfunctional family, pursued and lived his dreams, including becoming a Navy supersonic carrier pilot, finding himself by fully opening his heart, writing three books, siring four children ~ and still living his ultimate dream by making a difference from a place of love, celebration, and service.
His Ph.D. dissertation THE UNIFIED FIELD was chosen by Common Boundary and Noetic Science Institute, in their 1998 national dissertation contest, as one of the top three finalists for combining spirituality and psychology. His ongoing heart-centered work as a consultant with veterans with PTSD is the most satisfying work of his life. Allen’s online newsletter, columns, and radio broadcasts are committed to the truth ~ as he sees it ~ for only the truth is revolutionary.