This past weekend I was playing with our 21-month-old Granddaughter in the yard, and Kahlil Gibran’s (1883-1931) beautiful poem “On Children” came to mind:
“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.”
“their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit,
not even in your dreams.”
Where might our young Granddaughter be headed?
To grasp the enormity of that question, I decided to “leap-frog” back in time to the Grandparents of my Grandparents, to a day when they watched their Grandchildren at play.
My Grandmother’s Grandmother, Nancy Jane Terrell, was born in 1838, when her own Grandfather, Thomas Terrell, was 63 years old. Grandpa Thomas was born before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
What would he have thought as he watched little Nancy Jane at play? Maybe he wondered about her future? Perhaps he wondered about the kind of world she would grow into?
As it turned out, before her death in 1907, little Nancy Jane witnessed the invention of the typewriter, the telegraph, the camera, radio, automobiles, and the airplane.
The events of Nancy Jane’s life changed the world forever. Grandpa couldn’t have imagined such things, not even in his dreams.
Nancy Jane also had a Granddaughter, little Laura Jane Blankenbaker. Laura was my Grandmother. She was born in 1899 when Nancy Jane was 61 years old.
Before Laura’s death in 1993, she witnessed the invention of antibiotics, nuclear power, television, the transistor, and computers. Laura saw a man walk on the moon. The internet came into being during her final years.
The events of Laura’s life changed the world forever! Nancy Jane saw incredible things, but nothing compared to what her grandchild would see.
When Grandma Laura was 56 years old, I was born. No doubt she wondered about my future as well!
True to form, I’ve witnessed amazing things since her passing, like sequencing the human genome and the invention of the iPhone and Google, placing the world’s information at my fingertips. I’ve seen self-driving cars and have grown accustomed to high-resolution images of the surface of Mars. I watched a war in Afghanistan waged with drones piloted from outside Las Vegas by a once little neighborhood boy.
Even in her dreams, Grandma could never have imagined such things!
You already know where this is headed!
Our Granddaughter, little Adalyn, was born in 2020 when I was 65.
She is on a mission to I don’t know where…
People are worried about many things these days, including climate change, the economy, political divisiveness, and now peace. I can’t fault them!
Grandpa Thomas couldn’t have envisioned a Civil War killing over six-hundred-thousand of his Granddaughters countrymen.
Nancy Jane couldn’t have envisioned two world wars, killing 70 million people in her Granddaughter’s future world.
History provides ample evidence for concern.
But that’s not what ran through my mind as I watched little Adalyn grab a fist full of rocks and fling them into our fish pond.
She’s beginning a fabulous journey! History provides ample evidence for that as well.
Your children are not your children.
They are time travelers in the flow of life.
What could be more exciting?
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