“Life” Poem and Prayer of St. Francis

This “Life”poem is on the internet. Bloggers are asking about the author’s identity. I would like to correctly attribute it, too. What percentage of high school classrooms should have this poem on the wall?

It reminds me of the “Prayer of St. Francis” we used to say before Algebra class (Thanks Mr. Strick). It is likely that none of us silly 15-year-olds acted any differently because we said those words each day. It is also likely, however, that those words have inspired our lives. Can anybody not be inspired by such beauty?

I am posting both here. They speak for themselves.


Life isn’t about keeping score.
It’s not about how many friends you have
Or how accepted you are.
Not about if you have plans this weekend or if you’re alone.
It isn’t about whom you’re dating, whom you used to date,
How many people you’ve dated, or if you haven’t been with anyone at all.
It isn’t about whom you have kissed,
It’s not about sex.
It isn’t about who your family is or how much they have
Or what kind of car you drive.
Or where you are sent to school.
It’s not about how beautiful or ugly you are.
Or what clothes you wear, what shoes you have on,
Or what kind of music you listen to.
It’s not about if your hair is blonde, red, black, or brown
Or if your skin is too light or too dark.
Not about what grades you get, how smart you are,
How smart everybody else thinks you are,
Or how smart standardized tests say you are.
It’s not about what clubs you’re in or how good you are at “your” sport.
It’s not about representing your whole being on a piece of paper
And seeing who will accept the written “you.”


But, life is about whom you love and whom you hurt.
It’s about whom you make happy or unhappy purposefully.
It’s about keeping or betraying trust.
It’s about friendship, used as a sanctity or a weapon,
It’s about what you say and mean, maybe hurtful, maybe heartening.
About starting rumors and contributing to petty gossip.
It’s about what judgments you pass and why;
And to whom your judgments are spread.
It’s about whom you’ve ignored with full control and intention.
It’s about jealousy, fear, ignorance, and revenge.
It’s about carrying inner hate and love, letting it grow, and spreading it.
But most of all, it’s about using your life to touch or poison other people’s hearts
In such a way that could never have occurred alone.
Only you choose the way those hearts are affected,
And those choices are what life’s all about.

The Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


#1 Harry on 09.18.10 at 10:50 am

Dr. Hurley,
I hope teachers will read the “Life” poem and think more deeply about schools and teaching.

#2 Bob Strick on 12.29.10 at 1:13 pm

Thanks Casey … I appreciate being remembered as one or your teachers. “Teachers really do affect eternity … they do not know where there influence will end.”

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