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Sarah Lysne: Lessons gleaned from the world's greatest mother

Last weekend, I gave a presentation for a woman’s church group. The topic was "Do all the good you can," based on the proverb by John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church.

During my presentation, I acknowledged that doing all the good you can is sometimes difficult for a variety of reasons, one being that we do not always get along with every person we encounter in our lifetime.

We can all think of other reasons why we can’t do all the good we can. It would be easy for me to make a list for myself right now, John Wesley and Mother Teresa, who did her best to be the world’s greatest mother by caring for the poorest of the poor, would have had no time for my excuses.

In a book written about her life, "Mother Teresa: A Simple Path," compiled by Lucinda Vardey, the author said the following poem was found on a plaque hanging on the wall of Shishu Bhavan, a children’s home in Calcutta, India.



People are often unreasonable and self-centered — Forgive them Anyway

If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives — Be kind anyway

If you are honest, people may cheat you — Be honest anyway

If you find happiness, people may be jealous — Be happy anyway

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow — Do good anyway

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough — Give your best anyway

I did some research and discovered the poem is based on, "The Paradoxical Commandments," written by Kent M. Keith.

In his book, "Anyway, The Paradoxical Commandments," Kent said he was deeply moved that Mother Teresa had the poem displayed in the children’s home where she would see it every day as she cared for the children who lived in that home.


From what I know about Mother Teresa, I believe she must have lived by these commandments every day of her life.

What about us? Is it possible for ordinary people like us to try to live by these guidelines? Can those of us who are mothers try to pass on these "rules for living" on to our own children, no matter how old they are?

I think it may be difficult, but not impossible.

Kent writes in his book, "The challenge is to find personal meaning in life by always doing what is right and true even if others don’t appreciate it. You have to keep striving because if you don’t many of the things that need to get done in this world will never get done."

I have decided to display the poem "Anyway" in my home. Right now I have it written on a piece on notebook paper, and it is hanging on my refrigerator.

If we focus on a couple of these points each day, we can at least strive to follow the example of Mother Teresa, who proved that it is possible to live by these standards, and we can be eternally grateful that she did.


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