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Teacher Saves World E31: Is the Serenity Prayer What We Need Right Now?

Teacher Saves World E31: Is the Serenity Prayer What We Need Right Now?


Laurie & Matt take a look at those wise sayings that help us through troubling and stressful times, turning to a specific one for this week’s essential question, “Is the Serenity Prayer What We Need Right Now?”

Written by Reinhold Niebuhr in 1932, the Serenity Prayer became widely known when 12-step programs adopted it in the 1940s. Here is a commonly used variation:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

We have all collected wise sayings over the years, stuffed in our pockets for when life has us on the ropes and we need a thoughtful phrase to bring clarity and calm. With school set to begin, and a pandemic still raging, it’s as if the world’s schools are all being staffed with first year teachers. It’s a new setting, with new demands, and new and scary unknowns that are keeping us up at night. It’s times like these when we need to be reminded that there are things in our control (our attitude, our perception, our actions and words), and those outside of our control (the actions and decisions of others, the COVID-19 virus, wi-fi reliability), and focus our energies where our control lies. It’s when we lack the “wisdom to know the difference” and get worked up over things outside of our control that we become stressed and out of balance.

When we “accept the things I cannot change,” serenity is truly granted, our best selves can operate efficiently and powerfully, just as our children and students need us to.

To see the video Matt mentions of him jumping off of the cliff with his son at South Point on the Big Island of Hawaii, go to

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Get your copy of Matt’s book Helping Teens Succeed in High School & Life at

To connect with Laurie & Matt and find out more:

Show music provided by Brian Karmelich of

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Show music provided by Brian Karmelich of

We started Teacher Saves World! to unite teachers and parents in saving the world, one teenager at a time. We're high school teachers and parents of two teens ourselves, so while we love the little ones, that turbulent time between childhood and adulthood is our wheelhouse. We also think high school is four of the most important years in a person's life, and each teen needs an army of caring adults that are dedicated to making sure they're ready to thrive in adulthood. We're taking an Avengers approach: We need everybody to pitch in! We're all superheroes when we care about helping teenagers grow up into confident and capable adults.


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