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 Archers hand be for gladness
For even as he loves the arrow that flies,
So He loves also the bow that is stable.
I have, very firmly etched in my memory, some scenes from my childhood. The one that stands out the most is when, over the weekend that dreaded time of 9:00 am would be upon us. We had a blue chair, my mother would put that chair facing east, right in the centre of the room. And then would start the ordeal we went through. We were expected to do our kusti, then sit in that chair and recite the Sarosh Baj and the 101 naam, aloud.
To my mind, during that time, it was the longest part of the day where my mother expected me to do such long prayers! I remember thinking how a mother could torture her child so. This form of enforcement did not work in the long term and I spent a large part of my rebellious teen year without wearing the sadra and kusti.
Today, I see so many parents struggling to get their children to follow our faith. We cannot seem to convince our children to wear the Sadra Kusti and to say their prayers regularly. Spaghetti straps, off-shoulder tops, singlets and crop tops are the fashion choices today. The Sadra is cumbersome and visible from all these and hence shunned. So, what should we do? Should we enforce this discipline upon them? Should we lay down strictures and threaten them? Should we shun them if they do not do our bidding?
I speak from personal experience when I say that this does not work. Hence, like all things that are difficult, leave it to Ahura Mazda. Sow the seeds of your prayers deep in your own heart. Live a life which is like a shining example for your children. Be unwavering and unshakeable in your faith. Show them the love and strength of Ahura Mazda, make them aware of the miracles that you witness because of prayers and His mercy. But most importantly, accept their view-point and give them options.
Wouldn’t it be better to let your child do their kusti and then remove their sadra and wear whatever they want? At least that will ensure that they do the mandatory prayer once daily rather than not at all! Don’t make your faith a point of dispute in your home. Ahura Mazda is pure light and love, let us exude the same in our home too. Our children will be drawn towards our faith if we give them a choice and a voice. Be the bow that is stable and watch your future generations fly swiftly towards eternity in the grace of Pak Dadar Ahura Mazda!