The Prophet ~ Children

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.

And he said:

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.

(Khalil Gibran)

babe (noun): baby
bosom (noun): chest
longing (noun): keen desire
strive (verb): try very hard
tarry (verb): wait; delay leaving
bow (noun): a weapon for shooting arrows (made from a curved piece of wood)
arrow (noun): a long rod with a sharp point that flies through the air after leaving the bow
archer (noun): a person who shoots an arrow with a bow
swift (adverb): fast
stable (adjective): firm, not moving

Question: Why are “He” and “His” written with capital letters?

Khalil Gibran (1883-1931), was a Lebanese American artist, poet and writer. He was born in modern day Lebanon and emigrated to the United States as a young man. He is most famous for The Prophet, a book of 26 poetic essays that he wrote in English, first published in 1923 and since translated into more than 40 languages. “Children” is the third of the 26 essays and one of my favourite pieces of writing, which is why I have included it here.

[This work is in the public domain in countries where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 75 years or fewer.]

  • Marie-Danielle O'Reilly says:

    When I read this poetry, it went strait into my heart. Thank you! Could you find an other poetry as deep as this one?

  • Alice says:

    Amazing poetry. I wish to be such a mother.

  • mariana says:

    It is amazing! i’m proud of him as he is originally Lebanese from my country Lebanon . I have read this book in arabic ” Al Naby” means the prophet. It is very expressive, touching hearts.

  • Olga says:

    The chapter about love is the best, I think)) Though the whole book is absolutely beautiful. capital letters express something more than ordinary, higher than that of average level. He is Lord, Savour, God…

  • Abby says:

    I really like this poet, and I think wherever the kid is, he (she) will always remember and miss the bow which give him(her) the sky to fly.

  • Tshedy says:

    very enjoyable try to write more God bless you.

  • nourhan elhomsany says:

    so marvellous

  • roberto says:

    tencs for oll bye im going to stody for my exam

  • svetlana says:

    Thank you Sir for such a beautiful deep and touching present.
    I don’t know why but I burst into tears reading every line full of love.
    I’ve never read Khali Gibran and now I’m happy to have him in my heart.

  • randa says:

    Peace be upon you and many thanks for reminding me to read this wonderful book. I actually have a copy of it and I have read it before. I believe that no one will get bored while reading it.

  • joey75 says:

    And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.And he said:Your children are not your children.They are the sons and daughters of Life

  • Aisha Caroline says:

    Thank you so much for this. I lent my copy of The Prophet to someone who didn’t return it. Here in Egypt I have no possibility of replacing it. I read that poem when I was newly a mother and I have tried to follow it as I believe his philosophy is so true.

  • saeedy says:

    really words have a lot of meaning we have to think about, thank you.

  • shamsy says:

    Answer the question – Because it refers to God.
    I got a great feeling after I read this article; thank you very much. I put that on my desktop until I can read it a lot.

  • sanaa says:

    because they refer to God.

  • sanaa says:

    Peace be upon you all. Thank you Joe for these wunderful words. I’ve read The Prophet in Arabic and I intend to read it in English إن شاءالله

  • Abdulla says:

    very well article ———– try to publish more like this

  • Frank DiSalle says:

    Question: Why are “He” and “His” written with capital letters?

    Answer: Because the pronoun for a name of God is always capitalized.

  • chocolate_10394 says:

    becoz they are someone’s names

  • Talibah says:


    Beautiful!!! Thank you for sharing:)

  • Giana says:

    I fully agree with Pierre Corso, this is the kind of book that everyone should read at least once in the course of a lifetime. I’ve read it over and over and every time I open it I find something that I overlooked before.
    Many thanks for sharing Gibran!

  • Suphak says:

    Thank you for sharing. This remind us parents to be considerate when our expectations are too much on our children.

  • Bob (Bob Murry) says:

    It’s a good book my Aunt gave me to help improve my education when I was too young to appreciate it fully. But, after a while I got to really like the book.

  • Alberto Garcia says:

    Thanks for sharing this poem Jossef!! I apreciate it.

  • mhmd says:

    now I am tired and I well go to the dinner that mean I well not thik about your equstion ,, but I would like to thank you for this article ..

  • Sarath says:

    Thank you Sir, for sharing a wonderful piece of work. One may write a book about the poem.

  • pierre corso says:

    Hello Joe,

    I really want everyone to read the Prophet once in their lives. The world may be different ,with more tolerance and love.

  • ebi says:

    very good
    I enjoy very
    Thank You

  • monika says:

    Thank you Mr.Joseph for sharing this inspiring essay,I love all the works of Khalil Gibran,it was good to reread it.

  • Kassim says:

    I love Gibran very much, he was a great writer. I also read another Gibran’s book “Aphorisms”, a great book!!! Thank you Gibran.
    I agree with Stefano about the meaning of He an His. When we talk about God we must write in capital letter.

  • Miss.Sara says:

    To highlight the concept of Freedom ,Self-confidence and Human rights that we need to have a Bright future.It’s just my guess .
    Thank you Sir for sharing.

  • Karenina says:

    Hi Josef,
    Thanks for the article.
    Everything always nice from Khalil Gibran
    more than that, it enrich me I learned more new words.


  • ratiba says:

    it’s beutiful very nice i loved it

  • Ed Villarreal says:

    Hello Joe.
    Thank you so much, Khalil Gibran is one of my favorite poet and “Children” is also my favorite poem

  • Hisham shafal( superman ) says:

    woow i really like , i was thinking of that peom alot , it has alot of meanings and nice words ,good peom .. thanks sir joe .

  • stefano says:

    I love this book. I think He and His are written in capital letters, because he is talking about God.
    Good bye.

  • >