When the Q&A session began, I quickly put up my hand and waved out to Fr. Godfrey to get his attention! There was a burning issue that i needed help on and God had brought me to the right people to get advice!
The question was about 'sleepovers'. Leander (16) and Leroy (13) have been hassling Lorine and me to send them to their friends places to spend weekends with them. We have not been in favour of this 'practice' of sleepovers and have not been granting permission whenever they were invited over the past two years.
When asked by Fr. Godfrey if i trust my children, i answered, "I trust MY Children but i don't trust THEIR FRIENDS". There were peels of laughter in the hall and by now everyone came to know that there was a bookstall in the hall (turned out to be great advertisement for my stall!).
Fr. Godfrey then stated that i was absolutely right in having reservations about the sleepovers however, he also said that since the children wanted to experience a night out, the best way forward would be to 'get to know their friends'. Not only that but to 'get to know their parents'. Children of dysfunctional homes tend to be rebellious and parents hardly ever have time to focus on their children if they're involved in a fight of their own. This is particularly true when the parents have divorced or separated.
I believe the following thoughts on children by the great 'thinker' Kahlil Gibran will shed more light on the issue of 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.