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Karen Brennan
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You are the bow, your child is the arrow

Sunday, March 29, 2015

This week we will finish Chapter 7 in You Are Your Child’s First Teacher. Rahima covers a lot of topics in the second part of this chapter, from why it takes so much energy to be a parent, to weaning, establishing rhythm for an infant, potty training, helicopter parenting and a few others.  I don’t agree with some of her specific suggestions personally, but always find it interesting to hear different ideas.  I invite you, as always, to take what is useful to you, what resonates with you and let the rest go.  What does underly all of these topics, though, is her ongoing encouragement for us to recognize our own needs and the needs of our child.  When she talks about weaning, she talks about “nursing-couple-led-weaning” rather than child led weaning, encouraging mothers to consider their own needs as well as that of their child’s.  I remember thinking with Rachel that I would let her wean herself, but I reached the point where I no longer enjoyed nursing her (she was a toddler) and realized that it was ok for me to take the lead.  And it worked out fine—it turned out to be pretty easy.  She was ready to stop, but I don’t think it ever occurred to her to do it; after all, she had been nursing her entire life!

Another theme throughout this part of the chapter is separation.  Our child begins as part of their birth mother’s body.  Birth is the first of many separations that happen throughout childhood.  Weaning, first steps, potty training, the first day of school, first date, going off to college, all of these are separations and also opportunities to create a new relationship as the child grows into herself.  It makes me think of this writing:

On Children

 Kahlil Gibran

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.

Are there any of these topics you would like to discuss more in class?  If so, let me know and we can look at them together.  This is the last week of the winter session.  I hope to see you in the spring session, which starts next week, except for the Friday and Saturday classes which have a week off for Easter weekend.

Next class, we will begin discussing chapter 8, “Nourishing Your Child’s Imagination and Creative Play.”

Have a wonderful week! (or 2!)