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

Taking It Home: Finding Our Mission

To be tested is good.

— Gail Sheehy


We read a poem and discussed what it means to have a mission or a sense of purpose in life. We examined possible missions that we feel compelled to complete and wrote jazz poems about them.


Do you believe it is necessary to feel that you have a mission in life?


  • If you wrote an interfaith prayer during the Faith in Action activity, share it with your family and friends, possibly as a mealtime blessing. Ask if everyone feels included. Why or why not?
  • In some of your classes at school, you might read about famous or infamous people. After class, start a conversation with your friends about how a sense of purpose or a mission might have affected that person's life.
  • A mission can either be a lifelong endeavor or encompass a shorter period of time. Mission Impossible was a popular television show in the sixties. In each episode, a group of secret agents were given a difficult mission to complete in a short timeframe. Your family or friends can have a "Mission Impossible" day. Choose a mission to accomplish: clean up the litter in a nearby park, bake cookies and deliver them to the elderly in your neighborhood, help your school librarian reshelf books, or teach the preschoolers in your congregation how to tie their shoes. Set a time limit that will make accomplishing your mission a challenge and go to it!
  • In the poem "Perhaps," one set of outcomes could be described as optimistic; the other as pessimistic. Pick a serious topic about which you think most people will have a strong opinion. For example, can we ever end poverty? Can we reverse climate change? Will racism be eradicated in the United States? Take a poll amongst your family and friends. Are more people optimistic or pessimistic about the outcome of the issue you selected? Just for fun, you and your friends might search online and take a pessimistic/optimistic quiz.