A mother was standing in line at parent-teacher conferences to meet one of her kids’ teachers. Suddenly, a man tapped her shoulder and said, “What does your son say about this teacher because this class is my son’s lowest grade, and it’s ruining his average.”
“This class is actually one of my son’s lower grades,” she responded, “but this guy is without a doubt his favorite teacher, so I am actually really excited to meet him.”
“Well, my kid has to get a better grade in his class or else,” he said.
“Or else what?” she said.
“Or else he won’t be able to get into the college he needs to get into so he can take over my practice one day!” he said, exasperated.
“Oh,” she said. ”Is that what he wants to do?”
“Doesn’t matter,” said the dad, even more exasperated. “That is what he has to do.”
+Reflection: “We need to see the child in front of us,” said Vicki Abeles, director of the documentary film, Race to Nowhere. When we have high expectations for our children and when we have invested our money, energy, hopes and dreams in their success, this can be a real challenge. Kahlil Gibran beautifully addresses the issue and the opportunity in his age-old poem, On Children:
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.