Reub's journey

21 September 2009


  • competence - Having the ability to apply knowledge, skills, or judgment in practice if called upon to do so.

Jessica was a competent child from the start. At four years old, the day that she flew from my hands into the milieu of preschool, it seemed to me that she could take care of herself. She barely needed me; I wondered how long it would be before she would surpass me in just about everything. In fact after a decade or two, she was the athlete that I never would be. She was the dancer I never could be. She had social graces that still elude me. And now she is about to finish her two year stint in the Peace Corps, a not-insubstantial contribution to making the world a better place.

How did a bumbler like me have offspring such as mine? This is a mystery. I pondered this as I watched her haul a heavy bucket of water in the heat of an August afternoon in Niger.

Our children outdo us.

Photos by John Bliss

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 our 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.


  1. Kerry, this is so beautifully put with one of my lifetime favorite writings. We can love our children and be so proud of them and yet it's so hard to let go of that arrow and come to the realization that they are strong individuals who can and NEED TO go out on their own, flapping their wings, carrying their own loads, living their own lives, knowing that we are still connected in a way that only families are connected. Knowing that we will always need and love each other. Knowing we'll still get those phone calls that say "Mama, I don't feel good!" Lovely pictures, brother John!

  2. This is such a beautiful post. Your photos are very good. What a great memory to have and to share.

  3. you. are. killing. me.
    what a good reminder for me - i love this poem and hear Sweet Honey in the Rock whenever I read it...
    lord love that woman with WATER on her head of all things. shoot. doesn't she know how heavy water is?


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