Essay: Kahlil Gibran’s poem on children

Many things contribute to the growing up and development of children. In the same way, these things can, and they do affect what a person becomes when she/he is an adult. Everything, ranging from family heritage to relatives and friends influence the growth and development of children.
Kahlil Gibran’s poem on children provides an overwhelming message that the children we have are not ours. Our children are simply their own seeds and they already have everything they need within themselves. As such, the job of parents is to ensure that children are growing in the right environment ‘ one with plenty oxygen, water, sun and nutrient-rich soil ‘ so that they are able to sprout, unfold and develop to achieve their potential to the fullest. Parents cannot determine the potential of their children, and they should not try to direct it. Instead, parents are supposed to only assist them to discover their real selves and who they would want to be.
The perspective put forward by Gibran regarding children is that parents need to learn how not to be very dictating on the lives that their children lead. According to me, this perspective is correct and I feel that children should be left to learn from their own mistakes. Parents should not try to dominate over their children or prevent them from doing things. Parents are not always with their children and so they may be doing the things that parents don’t want anyway.
Children are parents’ gifts from God. Like Gibran mentions in lines 5 and 6 of his poem on children, ‘They come through you but not from you,” “And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.” This is to say that all of us are God’s children and even though we’re in this earth, we don’t belong here. What many parents do not realize is that we are God’s creation to whom we belong.
So unlike Gibran’s ideas on children, the Chinese-American community at Stockton, California, where Maxine Hong Kingston grew up, considered children as commodities or means for material wealth. In fact, they despised girls and only cared to have boys, because they considered boys to be more useful to their families than girls. In from White Tigers, Maxine says that she overheard a neighbor say that, ‘There is no profit in raising girls. Better to raise geese than girls.’ Clearly, this community does not nurture children, girls to be more specific, with the love and the right environment as Gibran wishes.
In from White Tigers, women in the Chinese community can be seen to transform from being weak and unprofitable, to being strong personalities and even heroines. The author has shown how women, and girls for that matter, had no importance in society and how men have dominated with their male chauvinism. Throughout Maxine’s story, readers can see the abuse and harassment directed towards girls and women. The author writes that, ‘It is more profitable to raise geese than daughters.’ Here girls are compared and likened to geese, showing that Maxine’s community degrades girls to the level of animals. It also shows that the society does not benefit from girls since girls aren’t capable of accomplishing what boys do, which is to get trained as well as participate in wars.
In from White Tigers, Maxine narrates of Chinese girls listening to stories that taught them of how they could be swordswomen and heroines. The narrator tells a story about a woman who conceives white crane boxing as a white crane’s spirit ‘ who later turns out to be an old man ‘ is guiding her. Maxine’s mother narrates stories night by night, and Maxine reflects on the power that this has. Even as her mother says that she will become somebody’s wife and mother, Maxine sees herself becoming just a warrior woman.
In the story, girls are only seen as future wives who don’t benefit their families. However, Kingston is able to prove the opposite; she is able to demonstrate that girls are able to overcome difficulties, that they can sacrifice themselves for the sake of not only their families but also their country. For instance, when Maxine is presented with a choice to go back or stay in the mountains living with the old duo and getting skilled for the battle, she elects to stay. Kingston succeeds in proving that girls aren’t inferior to boys, and their ability to do things is far inordinate than what their Chinese society wants them to believe.
Like Kingston, much of the troubles that Sandra Cisneros faced as a young girl were just because of being that, a girl. His Mexican father prides himself with ‘seven sons’, yet, he has six sons and a daughter, Sandra. The author of Only Daughter says that this made her feel ‘being erased.’ While her father sees a prosperous future in his boys, he opines that girls are just born and brought up to become wives. Sandra proposes that she needed to go to college and her father agrees. Little does she know that her father thinks that college is good for girls just because it is ‘good for finding a husband.’
Kahlil Gibran was right when he wrote that parents shouldn’t be overly controlling regarding what their children do; rather, parents should allow their children opportunities for them to succeed in their lives on their own. Like Gibran says, children have their own thoughts as well as points of view and all they ever need from their parents is undying support.
While Kahlil Gibran calls on parents to be supportive to their children, Sandra Cisneros’ father hardly supports her daughter. Even when he agrees that her daughter would go to college, she never questions her what she is doing in college because he thinks that college is only good for girls just to get husbands. He and his wife are very worried that their daughter completed school as well as two years of graduate school without any hint of a husband.
Sandra paints a picture of how her father wasn’t supportive all along as she struggled to become a better writer, yet everything she ever wrote was for his own sake. The beginning of Cisneros memoir tells it all; “I am the only daughter in a family of six sons. That explains everything.” The excerpt vividly explains how Cisneros’ father regards her.
Cisneros tries to win the respect and support of her father throughout the story. She doesn’t like it when her father introduces her as, “This is my daughter. She teaches.” He says that she teaches as opposed to the more respectful statement that she is a professor or teacher. This shows that her father doesn’t love her enough to be proud of her and that he holds back his reverence towards her.
In a family of nine, Sandra was the only daughter, and as she explains, this made her ‘only a daughter’ in the eyes of her father. She was usually overlooked by her father since he had six sons. This made Cisneros always try to please her father in a bid to win his attention as well as respect. Throughout her short memoir, Sandra depicts herself as intelligent and progressive in the male dominated family and society that she lives in. she shows that she deserves the attention and reverence of her father despite the extensive bigotry that is rife in her society.
While Gibran wishes that children be helped to discover themselves and be helped to lead their own lives with the right environment, Sandra and Maxine are despised and their lives seems predetermined just because they are girls. Gibran says that parents should give their children love and not their thoughts because children have their own thoughts. However, Sandra’s father and the entire Mexican community in which she lives in believe that a girl is only born to be someone’s wife. In from White Tiger, girls face a sterner test growing up, not even the straight A’s that the author scores can even make her to be regarded in equal terms with boys. The success of Maxine and Sandra perhaps serves as testimony that even if one can house the bodies of his children, he cannot house their souls, because, in Gibran’s words, ‘their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.’

Source: Essay UK - http://xbmm43.com/essays/english-literature/essay-kahlil-gibrans-poem-on-children/


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