Parents and children

When I was young, my parents sent me to a mental institution three times ( 1966, 1967, 1968). The reasons in my medical files are banal. It was said that I was isolated, hostile and miserable at school. I was not crazy but I was rather just a 17-year-old who really wanted to become a writer. Because no one understood this, I was locked up for months and fed with tranquilizers. The therapy merely consisted of giving me electroshocks. I promised to myself that one day I would write about this experience, so young people will understand that we have to fight for our own dreams from a very early stage of our lives.

When I realeased “Veronika decides to die”, a book that was a metaphor of my experience in a lunatic asylum, the press started asking me if I forgave my parents. In fact, I did not need to forgive them, because I never blamed them for what happened. From their own point-of-view, they were trying to help me to get the discipline necessary to accomplish my deeds as an adult, and to forget the “dreams of a teenager” .

Khalil Gibran has an excellent text about parents and children:

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 our 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.