Do it anyway.

Opposing points of view

A very kind lady I know from Discovery School (where I teach music on Mondays and Fridays) posted this quote from Mother Teresa in the restroom. I’ve read it many times, and each time I’m struck by the wisdom of this philosophy. The version below was written on the wall of Mother Teresa’s room in her home for children in Calcutta, India, and is widely attributed to her.  It appears to be a rewrite of a composition by Kent Keith, but much of the second half has been re-written to reflect Mother Teresa’s spirituality.


              People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.

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

            If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.

           If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.

            What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.

            If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.

            The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.

         Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.

         In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.



Look at Mother Teresa’s face. Would you say she was beautiful? According to the world’s standards, she was not. However, I imagine she was beautiful in God’s sight. Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.



Our words come from our hearts, and her heart was beautiful.

Contrast the first few lines of Mother Teresa’s quote with George Bernard Shaw’s. I think he probably viewed himself as unreasonable. I might be viewed the same way. Shaw chooses to make being unreasonable a positive character trait. I cannot agree, though I am often that way myself.

To be unreasonable is a type of conceit. I think I’m right because I see myself as intelligent and logical. Therefore, if something seems right to me, I often think the matter is settled. It isn’t.

How would you like to be remembered? I’m 62, and I think of this a great deal now. I would choose to be remembered kindly, as Mother Teresa is.

After all, who changed the world more in their lifetime?  Mother Teresa or George Bernard Shaw?


7 thoughts on “Do it anyway.

  1. Susan Kaye

    I think, in general, both are unreasonable. Mother Teresa’s words are derived from her faith while Shaw’s came from a healthy dose of conceit.

    Mother Teresa knew her, do the right thing regardless philosophy was impossible without the Lord. She hung on to her faith even through long bouts of doubt. I admire that. Shaw pointed out the flaws and foibles of humanity in clever and pithy ways. I admire that too.

    In the long run, I’d rather be remembered as Mother Teresa is, but just being remembered is difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Robin Helm Post author

      That’s what draws me to her. She lived what she believed – what she thought was right. She didn’t cave in the face of pressure.


  2. Laura Hile

    Choosing to respond with kindness opens the door to being misunderstood–and wow, is this a kick in the teeth to the ego. In my job I am firm, but I am also deliberately kind and encouraging. It’s a choice; this response does not come naturally. (I teach twelve-year-olds, for pity’s sake. What comes naturally is, ha … homicide! 🙂 just kidding.) As Susan Kaye says (above), my Christian faith plays into my responses. So do memories of how awkward it is to be twelve.

    Those who are like Shaw–confident in their opinions, disdainful, etc.–will see my kindness as weakness. It isn’t, but you can’t convince them. For instance, I once worked with an aide who would have been much happier if I’d run my classroom with military precision, coming down hard on each and every violation. What she did not understand was that my kindness extended even to her. She made mistakes (small, unintentional errors in her work–like the students were guilty of doing). Instead of confronting her, I allowed her to save face; I quietly put things right without making a fuss. And she went on being annoyed…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Robin Helm Post author

      My children at Discovery School and AWANAS are teaching me kindness. They run to me and hug me at every opportunity. They love me without reservation, warts and all. I have to love people the way those children love me.

      You can teach an old dog new tricks.

      Liked by 1 person


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