What I want in life

A friend shared the following poem and it struck a chord with me. After becoming a mum, one of the questions I’ve been asking myself very often is, “How do I teach my child? What kind of life do I want to guide him towards?”.

You see, when I was a teenager, my mother would constantly drilled in me that I was a bad sister to my brother and a useless daughter. And when I was about to get married, she scolded me for being messy as I was rushing around the house to prepare for the wedding ceremony. I was never good enough to her and that when I become a wife, she would wait and see how I was going to build my marriage given my lousy character.

When I became a mum, what hurt me really deeply was how she mentioned that I would be a bad example to my boy and some other nasty comments which I don’t wish to remember.

The poem resonated deeply with me because this would be what I would want for myself and my family. What are your hopes and dreams? What do you hope for your child? Will you support your children’s desires even if they do not sit well with you?


plural noun: desiderata
  1. something that is needed or wanted

Desiderata  by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

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