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Mother Teresa and the seven-day challenge

Bill FoxBy Bill Fox/Columnist

As mentioned previously, I had the honour of having dinner with Mother Teresa along with 10 others many years ago. If only Mother Teresa were still alive today.

My third son, a brilliant life coach and personal trainer, sent me some reflections on what it might be like if Mother Teresa were alive today. His thoughts below:

If she were still alive, Mother Teresa might remind us that humanity is one big extended family – somewhere down the line we all share common ancestors. We are like a jug of water, poured into glasses of different shapes, and colours.

Whether you are from Tokyo or Timbuktu, we are all living in the same universe of emotions: we all experience happiness, sadness, and everything in between. Whether you live in Port Perry or Puerto Rico, we all have family we care about. Whether you’re from Oshawa or Okinawa, we all want to be loved, and feel worthy of love. And when you give love, you give to yourself by making the world a happier place. So the next time you walk by a stranger, share a smile, they’re just like you. They’re just family you haven’t met yet.

Mother Teresa might also point out that in most third world countries, the communities gather together every night to socialize, sing and dance. In Canada, for the most part, we hide away from each other, lock ourselves in our homes and collect friends on Facebook when we should be cultivating real friendships. Our culture is more focused on materialism than making memories with each other.

People may not remember all the gifts they receive on their birthday, but they always remember the good times together. So the next time an occasion calls for a present, consider giving the gift of quality time spent together: go for an adventure in the city, a day of golfing, or share some laughs at a comedy club.

Life can sometimes snatch our dearest loved ones from our lives, and as you watch them being lowered to the grave, you likely won’t regret gifts not given…but time not spent together. So next time, consider giving presence instead of presents!

And if Mother Teresa were alive today, she’d probably finish by telling us that we too often resort to destructive strategies for attracting love. People sabotage their health, so others will be obligated to care for them. Some youth are getting into trouble because the attention received in being disciplined feels better than teenage loneliness. People spend too much money on clothes that strengthen self-perception and validate themselves, while disguising a trembling self worth.

Mother Teresa might tell us to try a new strategy, and attract love by giving it. Beauty isn’t about the latest fashions, or being supermodel thin. Beauty is letting your light shine from within:

For better lips: Lose the lipstick. Smile, and speak words of admiration.

For beautiful eyes: Forget makeup. See everyone with a sense of appreciation.

For better arms: Drop the dumbbells, and lend a helping hand to others.

So my son has initiated a seven-day challenge which I’m preparing to take. Will you join me?


  • It’s not enough to read these messages over once. That’s like skipping a stone across the surface of the water…it doesn’t sink in. We want these messages to go deep within us, and shape our thinking.
  • Everyday, for 7 days in a row, read the article, reflect, and see what thoughts arise in you.
  • If you miss a day, start over at day one and try again.
  • Email your daily reflection to a friend, family member, or coach. It doesn’t matter, as long as you’re accountable to somebody. I would be happy to be that contact at Next week, another seven-day challenge on when good things fall apart.