Go placidly amid the noise and haste…. Words to live by.

This past week some drama at school reminded me of one of my favorite poems, which offers wise counsel for those who find themselves the object of undeserved criticism. The temptation, of course, is to confront the troublemakers to set the facts straight and clear our names. 

However, there are times when it works much better to refuse to engage in the conflict, and to take advantage of the gift of silence. This is especially true when the other party has demonstrated a fundamental unwillingness to reconcile … and there are others better able (more detached from the situation) to “stand in the gap.”

In 1927 Max Ehrmann wrote “Desiderata,” and this sitation reminded me once more of his wise philosophy of life. I’d like to share a link to this wonderful poem with you here, to encourage you this week. It begins …

“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may 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 to the dull and ignorant;
they too have their story. … “

To read the full poem, click here.

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About hsaxton

Heidi Hess Saxton is an adoptive parent of two children, and converted to Catholicism in 1994. She is adoptive parent columnist at CatholicMom.com and CatholicExchange.com. She also writes for the Parenting Channel at AnnArbor.com. In her spare time, she is finishing up her Master's thesis at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.

7 thoughts on “Go placidly amid the noise and haste…. Words to live by.

  1. It’s a nice poem, but it’s really not very Catholic, theologically. I find it very calming, too, though, and I’m not even a Mom…:)


  2. Actually, I find much of it very much in keeping with the Catholic perspective on the Christian life — detachment, humility, perseverance, and trust. True the “God, as you conceive Him to be” does leave a lot of room for interpretation. But putting our existence in the context of a bigger world, it does take away much of the need to control and nitpick. It’s not explicitly Catholic — Max Ehrmann wasn’t Catholic. But that doesn’t mean this reflection isn’t valuable in its own right. Ehrmann’s reflection on religion may be found here- http://www.sentex.net/~ggrevs/Desiderata2.html. (He was raised Methodist, I believe). Thanks for writing.


  3. This is my strenghth in making the best of my life, from primary school days i learnt this poem and it is a part of me, thanks to the writer and publisher.


  4. like this poem soooo much,shared it with my son and daughter today and will share it with my Grand-Children when they are old enough to understand.


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