The idea of children as individuals — independent from their parents, isn't commonly considered in our society. Rather, they are considered necessarily subordinate to parents because of their very limited life experience. Less appealing, but no less common, is a tendency to view offspring as a legacy of patriarchy; from there, it's a short distance to children being treated as possessions. Our children and family members are individuals, not hereditary keepsakes. We do not own them, and they do not belong to us; we can only know them. They belong to the world and to themselves, and for a brief period in this ephemeral existence, we have the privilege to share time with them, and to serve them and their needs.