I have just played another game of squash against my son. It was a very hard game comparable to some of my best games against other tough competitors. I walked off the court very tired and I am not sure how I actually won this match as he played much better than me. I am relieved to hear him say how tired he actually was and how exhausted he was in the last game. My love for my children knows no bounds and to see them grow into adulthood is the most important part of my life. Two poems float into my mind which I would like to share.
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 own dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward not tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer see 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.
It is eighteen years ago. Almost to the day-
A sunny day with the leaves just turning.
The touch-lines new ruled-since I watched you play
Your first game of football. Then, like a satellite
Wrenched from its orbit. Go drifting away
Behind a scatter of boys. I can see
You walking away from me towards the school
With the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
Into a wilderness. The gait of one
Who finds no path where the path should be
That hesitant figure. Eddying away
Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem
Has something I never quite grasp to convey
About natures give and take-the small. The scorching
Ordeals which fire one’s irresolute clay.
I have had worse partings. But none that so
Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly
Saying what God alone could perfectly show
How selfhood begins with a walking away
And love is proved in the letting go
So important to realize that your children will walk away from you one day and your job is to let them go.
It led to further thoughts that I had on camaraderie not only with my children but with the people that I have worked with and continue to work with. Once you learn that you are not only doing things for yourself but for those people who are alongside you, your potential for success increases immeasurably. The recent work I have done in the commercial/sporting world continues to prove this point. Once a team realizes that they are fighting for one another there is a tangible energy to the team that marks them out.
When I see and feel this in a group they usually achieve great things. I am currently watching Sports personality of the Year and I am so pleased that Andy Flowers has become coach of the year. He embodies getting players to understand what camaraderie is and you can see that fight in the current England team. Have a wonderful Christmas