Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments (A Favorite of Mother Teresa)

During my webinar the other night (on my book Under the Influence of Jesus: The Transforming Experience of Encountering Christ), I mentioned a poem that has wrongly been attributed to St. Teresa of Calcutta called “Anyway.” Although it was a favorite of Mother Teresa’s and was apparently posted on the wall of her children’s home in Calcutta, she did not compose this poem. Rather, this poem was written by Kent M. Keith in 1968, and called the “Paradoxical Commandments.” It has appeared in a variety of versions since then. This is the version I shared in my webinar:

People are often unreasonable, illogical, 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 false friends and some true friends; succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.

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

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.

Give the world your best anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.

Here is a link to Kent Keith’s book, Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments: Finding Personal Meaning in a Crazy World.

About Joe Paprocki 2768 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

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