Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Exploring Our Values Through Poetry: A Program for High School Youth

Taking It Home: Who and What Guides Us?

Teachers open the door. You enter yourself.

— Chinese Proverb


We examined life lessons taught both intentionally and unintentionally by many different kinds of teachers. We read two poems about teachers and learners and wrote poems that reflect a way the teacher/learner relationship has played out in our own lives.


If you had your life to live over again, what would you do differently? Would changing your life experiences change the person you are today?


  • It is never too late to say "thank you." Ask your family members if there is anyone they need to thank for teaching them a life lesson. Encourage them to send their thanks now. If the person is deceased, the participant's family member could send her/his thanks to a surviving relative. Knowing that someone we loved had a lasting influence on someone else is another way the loved one lives on in our memory.
  • Sometimes you find yourself in a situation in which you are having a tough time getting along with someone with whom you have a relationship. Maybe you are working on a team assignment in a class and one team member never completes her/his portion of the work. Maybe you have a difficult relationship with a sibling or stepsibling. One way to think about experiences with difficult people is to ask ourselves, "Is there anything I can learn from this experience?" In some situations, we can learn something that is not immediately clear. Meditation or prayer is one way you might reflect upon a difficult situation. Ask yourself, "Do I need to change or grow in some way in order to handle this relationship?" The choice of whether you will change in an effort to ease the relationship is up to you. Viewing a relationship with a difficult person as a growth opportunity never means letting yourself be abused or controlled; it means being open to the possibility of change.
  • Have you ever tied a short string to your finger to remind you about something? A current popular piece of jewelry is a bracelet inscribed with "WWJD?" which stands for "What would Jesus do?" Such a bracelet can function as a reminder to Christians to live their lives according to the teachings of Jesus. Wearing jewelry as a reminder can function in another way. Does anyone in your family or among your friends own a piece of jewelry that previously belonged to another family member? Older or deceased family members often give or bequeath their jewelry to a younger family member. A parent might give her/his child a wedding ring that belonged to the child's grandparent. Your favorite aunt might bequeath her favorite brooch to you in her will. Wearing the item helps you to remember the person who gave it to you. It's a legacy, one that frequently involves a story. Ask your family and friends if they have any legacy jewelry and, if so, what the story behind it is.