On Children ~ by Kahlil Gibran

A little boy explains to his mother why he does not want to eat the octopus she served him.

“Out of the mouths of babes…”

[If you can’t see the video, scroll down to the comments — I posted a transcript of it.]

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.

[from Gibran’s The Prophet. Read the remainer of this 1923 poem here.]


6 thoughts on “On Children ~ by Kahlil Gibran

  1. 😦 I tried to listen to the video earlier today but it kept buffering because Don was online doing his Spanish lesson. So now it is evening and Don has wifi turned off and I tried to play the video and it’s not available because of copyright 😦
    Have always loved what Gibran has to say about children. Beautiful.


    • aw, that’s too bad about the video because I know you’d enjoy it. It’s so special, I might just type out a transcript for you to read… it’s not that long. The boy is so cute and thoughtful and wise….


  2. I’ve found a different copy of the video, so try viewing again. The first one I posted was apparently removed from YouTube by somebody for copyright reasons, so this one may disappear too. Just in case, here’s the text of the video for you:

    Luiz is a little boy, looks like about 4 years old. His Mom is behind the camera. I’m not sure what language they’re speaking, but it’s subtitled, as follows:

    Mom: Now eat your octopus gnocchi
    Luiz: OK mom, alright. This Octopus isn’t real, right?
    Mom: No.
    Luiz: Then alright… He doesn’t speak and he doesn’t have a head, does it? Where is his head?
    Mom: There’s no head. These are just the little legs of the octopus that were chopped.
    Luiz: Huh? And… his head in the sea?
    Mom: It is at the fish market.
    Luiz: (thinks for a few seconds). Mom, did they chop it this way? (makes chopping/sawing motions with his hand) Like this…?
    Mom: Yes they did.
    Luiz: Why?
    Mom: So we can eat it. Otherwise we’d have to swallow the whole octopus!
    Luiz: But why…?
    Mom: So we can eat it, love. Just like a cow is chopped, a chicken is chopped…
    Luiz: Ah… the chicken. (shakes his head). No. Nobody should eat the chicken either.
    Mom: Nobody should eat the chicken?
    Luiz: No… those are animals!
    Mom: Really?
    Luiz: Yeah.
    Mom: Mmmm. (pause) So let’s eat the gnocchi? Eat the potato then?
    Luiz: Just the potato and just the rice.
    Mom: Ok…
    Luiz: (sits back and looks thoughtful) Not the octopus. Not the animals…
    Mom: Alright.
    Luiz: All of them are animals… Fish is “the animals”… Octopus is “the animals”… Chicken is “the animals”… Cow is “the animals”… Pig is “the animals”…
    Mom: Yeah
    Luiz: So…! When we eat animals they die!
    Mom: Ah… yeah
    Luiz: Why?
    Mom: So we can eat, love.
    Luiz: Why… do they die? I don’t like that they die… I like that they stay standing up… Happy.
    Mom: OK. Alright. So we’re not going to eat it anymore, ok?
    Luiz: Ok! (thinks some more) These animals… we have to take care of them… and not eat them! (hand gestures over the plate of octopus)
    Mom: (chuckles) You are right son. So eat the potato and rice.
    Luiz: Alright… (leans forward to eat, then pauses, smiles…puts one hand forward toward his Mom) Why are you crying?
    Mom: I’m not crying… I’m just moved by you.
    Luiz: I’m watching some water dropping. (smiles)
    Mom. (tearful chuckle)… So eat. No need to eat the octopus, alright?
    Luiz: OK. (picks up his spoon) So this octopus is similar to meat, right?
    Mom: Yeah….


  3. Thank you so much. This video worked. Just beautiful. Young children have such innate wisdom. They haven’t lost touch with the truth yet.
    (but I still eat fish lol)


  4. There is a women’s choral piece with this poem as the lyrics, and I sing it often, especially when the differences between my girls and me are very apparent. It’s so lovely!


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