I love the many positive quotes that regularly come my way on Facebook, for which I am always grateful. One that appeared in my newsfeed last week (thanks, Randy) caught my attention sufficiently for me to google for further background. As you’ll see below, it’s written by Kent M. Keith, who until then I had not heard of. When I looked up ‘Paradoxical Commandments’, I found these words of wisdom credited to Mr. Keith, but also credited to Mother Theresa. Before I share the full story, these are the inspirational words that got my attention. There is so much good advice in these commandments for each and every one of us.
Great advice, right?! Do it anyway. It turns out that Kent Keith wrote these commandments while a 19-year old sophomore at Harvard in 1968, for inclusion in a handbook for student leaders. Subsequently, the commandments spread far and wide, including apparently to India, where Mother Theresa was so taken with them that she hung them on the wall in her children’s home in Calcutta. One thing led to another, as so often is the case, and people who had visited Mother Theresa reported on the inspirational commandments they assumed she had written. Kent Keith himself, nearly 30 years after he had written the commandments, heard them read out at a meeting, attributed to Mother Theresa. You can imagine his surprise. It turned out that the person reading them had noticed them in a book about Mother Theresa. Talk about serious affirmation of your work!
Realizing that his words could serve as an inspirational source for someone as inspiring as Mother Theresa herself, Mr. Keith decided to expand on the Paradoxical Commandments, written so long ago, and the concepts he had hoped to encourage. Hence his book published in 2002, Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments, Finding Personal Meaning in a Crazy World.