"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"
- Almustafa discusses the topic of children
The Prophet is a book of poetry essays from the point of view of Almustafa as he waits to board a ship that will take him from the city of Orphalese and transport him home. As he waits, a number of the city’s characters approach and ask Almustafa about different life and human conditions, such as love, freedom, pain, religion, crime and punishment, good and evil, clothing, homes, work and self-knowledge.
The tale took me longer than it should have to read because I have also been reading through the Quran (which I’m not going to review), and reading two books simultaneously that are both about prophets and religion was sometimes a bit tedious, but saying that I really appreciate both reads.
The Prophet is written as though the writer has taken the important messages from the gospel about love and charity and put them in a much clearer form without the parts everyone seems to get hung up on that seem insignificant to myself and my generation. My problem with reading the Christian gospel was that I found it outdated and not easily accessible to the average person who may need the benefits of spirituality the most, which makes deception by others easier. The Prophet seems to cover more modern topics, modern to when it was written in 1923 anyway, and uses poetry and metaphors that are clear and paint a uniting picture of how religion is beneficial to the reader and society as a whole.
In my opinion I think that Christians around the world should be following the words of Almustafa. It is a much more accepting way to live, and I know disregarding the ‘real’ bible kind of defeats the message, but the bible is just chosen snippets anyway so if we’ve already started picking and choosing then why don’t we just go the full way and start following a book that teaches charity, love and kindness to humanity and nature as one, instead of a book that is misinterpreted and corrupt.