Don't Let Me Down
photograph by Ron Chapple | Dreamstime.com
I’ve had this video rolling around in my head the last couple of days. It was on my Facebook feed (the go-to source for cultural ephemera) and it’s created an earworm. But it’s a nice one. It features a 2-year-old toddler playing guitar alongside his dad, a cute, 30-something rocker, and the two of them are singing the Beatles song, “Don’t Let Me Down.”
(Here’s the video, if you want to check it out: youtube.com/watch?v=ccbxpp4I7MI)
From a musical standpoint, this tot is kind of amazing. He enters on cue, he often matches his dad, note-for-note, and he keeps time with the music. He even sings on key. But what I love most is how he watches his father so closely, working to emulate his every move. His rapt attention to what they’re doing together is very cool. Young children are like sponges, always watching, always learning.
I remember my own son at that age. Even during the terrible twos, when he was beginning to seek a bit of independence from us, he was constantly watching his father and me for cues and guidance. I’m reminded me that we are our child’s first teacher. The way we respond to their needs, the words of encouragement we share — or choose to withhold — the choices we make each day can impact them greatly, and gradually help to shape that child. They begin to learn what it means to trust another. They begin to learn what it takes to make it through this world.
That journey was reflected in a conversation I had with one of my writers this month about learning disabilities. She suggested I visit the National Center for Learning Disabilities (ncld.org) website. After looking it over, I can highly recommend it as a resource for assistance and support if you have a child with a learning disability. They have much to offer to families. In recognition of Learning Disabilities Awareness Month (October), the foundation sponsored a writing contest, asking readers to submit six words that best describe their parenting journey.
Their remarks were touching: “We have the courage to believe,” “Her time is the perfect time,” “Won’t never give up=Team work,” “There is hope on the horizon.” In reading these, I felt they reflected the perseverance and desire we all have for our children to succeed.
Those responses led me to this, a poem I remembered reading in high school from the book, The Prophet, written by the Lebanese artist, writer, and poet, Khalil Gibran. Let me leave you with his artful reflections on raising children.
And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, ‘Speak to us of Children.’
And he said:
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.
— Khalil Gibran