Let our parents off the hook

As I prepared for my Father’s Day Sunday talk entitled "Father Knows Best," I was struck with the huge burden of that statement. We can grow up expecting our parents to be perfect (they weren’t) and we can expect ourselves to be perfect parents (we won’t be). Maybe that’s why I did a rewrite of Kahlil Gibran’s essay on children many years ago, and made it for all of us with parents (includes everyone, doesn’t it?). I’d like to share it again now:


Speak to us of Parents


Your parents are not your parents.
They are the channels through which life recreated Its self.
You came through them, but not from them,
And though they may still be with you, you do not belong to them.
You may receive their love, but not their thoughts, for their thoughts are from their time. New thoughts must be generated within you now for this time and this place.
For life does not go backwards or become trapped in yesterday.
You are the product of generations upon generations of human kind longing to give their children a better life than they had.
You have done nothing by yourself, even if it may have seemed so,
For the prayers and petitions of millions of mothers crying out to the Infinite to bless and protect their children have been heaped upon you.
And the pride and faith of millions of fathers in their offspring continues to inspire you at a deep cellular level.
Don’t let their prayers and faith be in vain –
Receive with humble acceptance the blessing of the Ancients and then be sure to pass it on.


If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

Dalai Lama