4 Real-Life Inspiring Stories That Touched Heart

Last Updated on November 21, 2022

Nothing can brighten your day like hearing heart-touching stories about real people .

And when your friends, dad, mom, son, daughter, husband, wife, or co-workers are having a bad day, you can share heart-touching stories with them as well to make them feel better .

These stories are a great source of inspiration and life lessons as well so they’re really important, especially for developing minds .

So no matter how sad these stories might be (some may even cause you to cry), know that in the end, all of them will make you smile because of how inspiring they are.

With all of that said, here are a couple of the best real-life inspiring stories that are worth reading and sharing with the people you love.

Table of Contents

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Today, Oprah has a reputation for being one of the best talk show hosts and producers of her generation. On top of those accolades, she’s also a best-selling author, actress, philanthropist, and global icon.

You wouldn’t think that Oprah had such a troubled past. But she did.

When Oprah was a little girl, she grew up only knowing poverty. She was so poor that she would often wear dresses made of potato sacks.

Her mother was only a teenager when she was born. To make matters worse, she was molested as a child by her cousin, uncle, and a family friend. Oprah became pregnant when she was just 14 years old. Her son was born prematurely and died in infancy.

She worked really hard in high school. So much so that she managed to land a job in radio while still in school. She excelled in her field which is why she was already a co-anchor for the local evening news before she even reached her 20s.

Oprah continued to persevere until she found her success on national television. She is known for using her platform to preach mindfulness, self-improvement, and spirituality.

Moral of the Story

Don’t let your past stop you from reaching your dreams. Continue to pursue your goals with everything you’ve got.

J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling, the author of the famous Harry Potter books, also had a rough time before making it big. Before making it as an author, she was working a temp job as a bilingual secretary.

One day in 1990, the characters Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley came to mind while she was on a delayed train commute. And because she had no pen and paper at the time, she was able to flesh out the characters in her mind before committing them to paper when she got home.

She had already started working on what was going to be the Harry Potter books when tragedy struck later that year. Her mother passed away due to multiple sclerosis. This had a big impact on Rowling and severely affected her writing.

She would also break up with her boyfriend and lose her job not long after.

All of these tragedies put Rowling in a state of fight or flight. She moved to Portugal in 1991 to teach night classes in English as a foreign language while working on the books in the morning.

It was in Portugal that she met a man named Jorge Arantes. The two would later become a couple. And by 1992, Rowling became pregnant but suffered a miscarriage. Still, she and Jorge tied the knot later that year despite the tension left by the incident.

In 1993, Rowling was able to finish the first three chapters of the first Harry Potter book. And she would also give birth to her child, Jessica. Things were finally looking up.

But that wouldn’t last long. Soon after, she fell victim to domestic abuse. Things got so out of hand that Arantes threw Rowling out of their house. Rowling took her kid and belongings (with the help of local police) and went into hiding for two weeks before heading to Scotland where Rowling’s sister lived.

The only thing she had of value was a draft of the first Harry Potter book.

Arantes would follow Rowling to Scotland in 1994 to try and get his daughter back. Rowling fought back with the help of a restraining order that forced Arantes to go back to Portugal.

At this point, Rowling had to rely on Social Security to make ends meet. She described this period of her life as being poor as possible in modern Britain without being homeless. But thanks to a friend that loaned her $900, she was able to move to a flat in Leith. It was here that she finished Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

In 1995, her divorce was finalized and she was finally able to move on with her life with her little girl.

Rowling would later state that the first Harry Potter book saved her life and that all the terrible things she experienced during those five years were reflected in the book.

Don’t let bad luck put you down. Something better is always on the horizon.

Jim Carrey

Comedian Jim Carrey has spent years making people laugh. But his heart-touching story is no laughing matter.

As a little boy, Carrey was already able to make faces (a thing he would later be famous for) and impressions. But during his teens, Carrey had to live in a Volkswagen van with his family as they were struggling financially. Carrey and his brother would sometimes live in a tent in a park in Ontario.

Things only got slightly better after his father found employment in a tire factory. Jim and his brother would go on to work in the factory too as janitors. Work started at 6 PM and would go on until the morning.

Carrey would have to make the ultimate sacrifice to drop out of school at 16. However, he used his free time to work on his comedy while still employed in the factory.

He started working in comedy clubs for no money. However, because of their financial situation, Carrey’s family was unable to support his efforts. But time passed on by and soon, his family was a little more financially stable. And so Carrey returned to playing gigs. He was even making money now for his comedy.

He’s only 17 years old at this point but he’s already building a good reputation for himself.

Carrey auditioned for Saturday Night Live but didn’t get the job. At 19, he was booked as the opening act for a rock band at the Roxy Theater for two shows. But on the first night, he got booed so bad that he had to walk offstage.

Still, Carrey kept working on his craft until finally, someone in Hollywood took notice.

If you keep working your way toward your goal, then no amount of adversity can bring you down.

Bonus: Bethany Hamilton

Bethany Hamilton

Bethany Hamilton is one of the best professional surfers in the world. But before she won her division in the NSSA National Championship, she had to overcome one big hurdle:

She suddenly got her arm completely bitten off by a shark while training back when she was 13 years old.

Regardless of whether you’re a boy or a girl — anyone who’s had their arm torn off by a shark wouldn’t dare go back in the ocean. But that’s not Bethany operates apparently. This girl looked her family and friends in their eyes and said she’ll continue to pursue her dreams of competing.

It wouldn’t surprise me if her parents gave in to her wishes. And on the day of the competition, there’s no doubt that this girl brought her A-game.

Children should be told this story so they learn what the human mind is capable of once it’s set on a goal. Parents should probably hear about this too. Even a doctor would find this impressive.

Don’t let setbacks lure you away from your dreams. Keep fighting.

What Do All These Heart-Touching Stories Have in Common?

You might have noticed that these stories (minus Hamilton’s) had something in common. All of them featured successful individuals that started out poor but went on to be superstars in their fields.

As these stories show, it is possible to reach your dreams even if you start life with almost nothing. The people we featured fought their way to success. They decided a long time ago that they won’t let their standing in society get in the way of reaching their dream.

While it may have taken them many years, all of them found the answer to their prayers — and so can you.

Conclusion: Why Touching Stories Are Important

Heart-touching stories play an important role in our development. A little boy or girl can use heart-touching stories to learn more about the world. They also work on adults as well. Every so often, we need to hear stories that make us cry.

A touching love story can have a similar effect on a young man or woman. And if a story touched someone who may have forgotten how to love, it can lead to bigger and better things.

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Inspirational Stories

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  • Heart Touching Stories

It happens that people pay too much attention to material things. After some time they understand that it is a mistake and that true connection with family and friends is far more valuable. Unfortunately, this understanding can come to us when it's too late. On this page you will find a collection of heart touching stories with moral lesson that will make you rethink what is truly important to us in this life.

A little girl was

heart touching stories

A little girl was decorating a box with a gold wrapping paper to put it under the Christmas tree. Money was tight, so the girl‘s father punished her for wasting almost all roll of that expensive paper.

However, the next morning the girl brought the gift to her father. „This is for you, Daddy” – she said. He opened a box and found it empty, so he became angry again. „Don‘t you know, that when you give someone a gift, it is supposed that there would be something inside it” – he said severely.

The little girl looked at her father with tears in her eyes. „Daddy, this box is not empty, I filled it with my kisses, all for you“.

The father was stunned. He felt so embarrassed that could just put his arms around his little daughter and beg for her forgiveness.

For many years of his life the man kept that golden box near his bed. Wherever he felt sad and downhearted he opened the box and thought of love that the little child had put into it.

Each of us have been given a present of unconditional love from our children, family, friends and God. It is the most precious possession that anyone could hold.

George was a driver and

touching stories

George was a driver and he spent so much time at his work, that he could hardly have a meal together with his wife and three children. In the evenings he attended classes, seeking to get knowledge, that one day would help him to find a better paying job.

George‘s family often complained that he is not spending enough time with them, but his only answer was „I am doing all this for you, I work hard to provide my family with the best that I can“.

Soon after George had passed his exams, he received a good job offer with a salary, which was significantly higher than he had before. So now George could provide his family with more expensive clothes, some luxury items or vacations in foreign countries. It was like a dream come true, but family still did not get enough attention from George, as he continued to work very hard and often he did not get to see his family for most of the week.

Time passed and George‘s hard work paid off, he was promoted. He decided to relieve his wife from domestic works, so he hired a maid. He also decided that their flat is not big enough for their family and they need a more spacious one. Thus he needed to work even harder and, moreover, he continued his studies, so that he would be promoted again. George worked so hard, that sometimes he even had to spend his Sundays with his clients instead of his wife and children. And again, whenever family asked for his time and complained that they do not spend enough time together, he answered, that he was doing all this only for them.

A bit later George was promoted, so he could buy a spacious house with a beautiful view. On the first Sunday evening at their new home, George told his wife and kids, that now he decided not to take any studies and work not so hard, so that he could spend more time with his beloved family. The very next morning George did not wake up.

Touching stories

heart touching stories

When James was a college student, he had admired a lovely sports car in one dealer‘s showroom for a long time. He knew that his parents could afford it and told them, that this car is all that he wanted as a gift in a day of his graduation.

Graduation day came and father had called James into his private office. He told him: „I am very proud to have such a good son like you.” He told him how much he loved him and handed him a lovely wrapped gift. James felt disappointment, but he was curious to know what it was, so he opened the box and saw a leather-bound Bible. „You are so wealthy and all you can give me is a Bible?” – James shouted at his father with anger and left the house.

Time passed and James became a successful businessman. He was happily married and had two children. Their family lived in a beautiful house. However, his soul still hurt due to broken relationships with his father. James did not see him since his graduation day.

One day he received a note, which told that his father passed away. According to the testament he had inherited all of the possessions of his father. When James arrived at his father‘s house and began to look for some important paper, and accidentally he found the Bible, still gift-wrapped, and sadness had filled his heart. With tears in his eyes, he opened the Bible and read a verse that was underlined by his father: “And if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give to those who ask Him?” Suddenly a car key had dropped from the back of the Bible. He knew that it was keys to the same car that he desired at that time. James also found a tag with the date of his graduation on it and the words „Paid in full“.

Touching story about kids

A long time ago I worked as a volunteer at a hospital. There was a little girl, who suffered from a serious disease. The only chance for her recovery was a blood transfusion from her five-year-old brother, since he had experienced the same disease and had miraculously recovered. Thus he had the needed antibodies to struggle with this illness.

So the doctor told about the situation to the boy and asked him, if he is willing to give his blood to his sister. He hesitated only for a moment, then the little boy took a deep breath and said: „Yes, I will do this, if it will save her life“.

During the transmission his sister was lying in bed next to him. The boy looked at her and smiled, but gradually his face became pale and his smile faded. He asked the doctor with a trembling voice: „Will I start to die right now?”

The little boy thought that he would have to give all his blood to save the life of his beloved sister.

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heart touching essay on life

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Eight brilliant student essays on what matters most in life.

Read winning essays from our spring 2019 student writing contest.

young and old.jpg

For the spring 2019 student writing contest, we invited students to read the YES! article “Three Things That Matter Most in Youth and Old Age” by Nancy Hill. Like the author, students interviewed someone significantly older than them about the three things that matter most in life. Students then wrote about what they learned, and about how their interviewees’ answers compare to their own top priorities.

The Winners

From the hundreds of essays written, these eight were chosen as winners. Be sure to read the author’s response to the essay winners and the literary gems that caught our eye. Plus, we share an essay from teacher Charles Sanderson, who also responded to the writing prompt.

Middle School Winner: Rory Leyva

High School Winner:  Praethong Klomsum

University Winner:  Emily Greenbaum

Powerful Voice Winner: Amanda Schwaben

Powerful Voice Winner: Antonia Mills

Powerful Voice Winner:  Isaac Ziemba

Powerful Voice Winner: Lily Hersch

“Tell It Like It Is” Interview Winner: Jonas Buckner

From the Author: Response to Student Winners

Literary Gems

From A Teacher: Charles Sanderson

From the Author: Response to Charles Sanderson

Middle School Winner

Village Home Education Resource Center, Portland, Ore.

heart touching essay on life

The Lessons Of Mortality 

“As I’ve aged, things that are more personal to me have become somewhat less important. Perhaps I’ve become less self-centered with the awareness of mortality, how short one person’s life is.” This is how my 72-year-old grandma believes her values have changed over the course of her life. Even though I am only 12 years old, I know my life won’t last forever, and someday I, too, will reflect on my past decisions. We were all born to exist and eventually die, so we have evolved to value things in the context of mortality.

One of the ways I feel most alive is when I play roller derby. I started playing for the Rose City Rollers Juniors two years ago, and this year, I made the Rosebud All-Stars travel team. Roller derby is a fast-paced, full-contact sport. The physicality and intense training make me feel in control of and present in my body.

My roller derby team is like a second family to me. Adolescence is complicated. We understand each other in ways no one else can. I love my friends more than I love almost anything else. My family would have been higher on my list a few years ago, but as I’ve aged it has been important to make my own social connections.

Music led me to roller derby.  I started out jam skating at the roller rink. Jam skating is all about feeling the music. It integrates gymnastics, breakdancing, figure skating, and modern dance with R & B and hip hop music. When I was younger, I once lay down in the DJ booth at the roller rink and was lulled to sleep by the drawl of wheels rolling in rhythm and people talking about the things they came there to escape. Sometimes, I go up on the roof of my house at night to listen to music and feel the wind rustle my hair. These unique sensations make me feel safe like nothing else ever has.

My grandma tells me, “Being close with family and friends is the most important thing because I haven’t

heart touching essay on life

always had that.” When my grandma was two years old, her father died. Her mother became depressed and moved around a lot, which made it hard for my grandma to make friends. Once my grandma went to college, she made lots of friends. She met my grandfather, Joaquin Leyva when she was working as a park ranger and he was a surfer. They bought two acres of land on the edge of a redwood forest and had a son and a daughter. My grandma created a stable family that was missing throughout her early life.

My grandma is motivated to maintain good health so she can be there for her family. I can relate because I have to be fit and strong for my team. Since she lost my grandfather to cancer, she realizes how lucky she is to have a functional body and no life-threatening illnesses. My grandma tries to eat well and exercise, but she still struggles with depression. Over time, she has learned that reaching out to others is essential to her emotional wellbeing.  

Caring for the earth is also a priority for my grandma I’ve been lucky to learn from my grandma. She’s taught me how to hunt for fossils in the desert and find shells on the beach. Although my grandma grew up with no access to the wilderness, she admired the green open areas of urban cemeteries. In college, she studied geology and hiked in the High Sierras. For years, she’s been an advocate for conserving wildlife habitat and open spaces.

Our priorities may seem different, but it all comes down to basic human needs. We all desire a purpose, strive to be happy, and need to be loved. Like Nancy Hill says in the YES! Magazine article “Three Things That Matter Most in Youth and Old Age,” it can be hard to decipher what is important in life. I believe that the constant search for satisfaction and meaning is the only thing everyone has in common. We all want to know what matters, and we walk around this confusing world trying to find it. The lessons I’ve learned from my grandma about forging connections, caring for my body, and getting out in the world inspire me to live my life my way before it’s gone.

Rory Leyva is a seventh-grader from Portland, Oregon. Rory skates for the Rosebuds All-Stars roller derby team. She loves listening to music and hanging out with her friends.

High School Winner

Praethong Klomsum

  Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica, Calif.

heart touching essay on life

Time Only Moves Forward

Sandra Hernandez gazed at the tiny house while her mother’s gentle hands caressed her shoulders. It wasn’t much, especially for a family of five. This was 1960, she was 17, and her family had just moved to Culver City.

Flash forward to 2019. Sandra sits in a rocking chair, knitting a blanket for her latest grandchild, in the same living room. Sandra remembers working hard to feed her eight children. She took many different jobs before settling behind the cash register at a Japanese restaurant called Magos. “It was a struggle, and my husband Augustine, was planning to join the military at that time, too.”

In the YES! Magazine article “Three Things That Matter Most in Youth and Old Age,” author Nancy Hill states that one of the most important things is “…connecting with others in general, but in particular with those who have lived long lives.” Sandra feels similarly. It’s been hard for Sandra to keep in contact with her family, which leaves her downhearted some days. “It’s important to maintain that connection you have with your family, not just next-door neighbors you talk to once a month.”

Despite her age, Sandra is a daring woman. Taking risks is important to her, and she’ll try anything—from skydiving to hiking. Sandra has some regrets from the past, but nowadays, she doesn’t wonder about the “would have, could have, should haves.” She just goes for it with a smile.

Sandra thought harder about her last important thing, the blue and green blanket now finished and covering

heart touching essay on life

her lap. “I’ve definitely lived a longer life than most, and maybe this is just wishful thinking, but I hope I can see the day my great-grandchildren are born.” She’s laughing, but her eyes look beyond what’s in front of her. Maybe she is reminiscing about the day she held her son for the first time or thinking of her grandchildren becoming parents. I thank her for her time and she waves it off, offering me a styrofoam cup of lemonade before I head for the bus station.

The bus is sparsely filled. A voice in my head reminds me to finish my 10-page history research paper before spring break. I take a window seat and pull out my phone and earbuds. My playlist is already on shuffle, and I push away thoughts of that dreaded paper. Music has been a constant in my life—from singing my lungs out in kindergarten to Barbie’s “I Need To Know,” to jamming out to Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” in sixth grade, to BTS’s “Intro: Never Mind” comforting me when I’m at my lowest. Music is my magic shop, a place where I can trade away my fears for calm.

I’ve always been afraid of doing something wrong—not finishing my homework or getting a C when I can do better. When I was 8, I wanted to be like the big kids. As I got older, I realized that I had exchanged my childhood longing for the 48 pack of crayons for bigger problems, balancing grades, a social life, and mental stability—all at once. I’m going to get older whether I like it or not, so there’s no point forcing myself to grow up faster.  I’m learning to live in the moment.

The bus is approaching my apartment, where I know my comfy bed and a home-cooked meal from my mom are waiting. My mom is hard-working, confident, and very stubborn. I admire her strength of character. She always keeps me in line, even through my rebellious phases.

My best friend sends me a text—an update on how broken her laptop is. She is annoying. She says the stupidest things and loves to state the obvious. Despite this, she never fails to make me laugh until my cheeks feel numb. The rest of my friends are like that too—loud, talkative, and always brightening my day. Even friends I stopped talking to have a place in my heart. Recently, I’ve tried to reconnect with some of them. This interview was possible because a close friend from sixth grade offered to introduce me to Sandra, her grandmother.  

I’m decades younger than Sandra, so my view of what’s important isn’t as broad as hers, but we share similar values, with friends and family at the top. I have a feeling that when Sandra was my age, she used to love music, too. Maybe in a few decades, when I’m sitting in my rocking chair, drawing in my sketchbook, I’ll remember this article and think back fondly to the days when life was simple.

Praethong Klomsum is a tenth-grader at Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, California.  Praethong has a strange affinity for rhyme games and is involved in her school’s dance team. She enjoys drawing and writing, hoping to impact people willing to listen to her thoughts and ideas.

University Winner

Emily Greenbaum

Kent State University, Kent, Ohio 

heart touching essay on life

The Life-Long War

Every morning we open our eyes, ready for a new day. Some immediately turn to their phones and social media. Others work out or do yoga. For a certain person, a deep breath and the morning sun ground him. He hears the clink-clank of his wife cooking low sodium meat for breakfast—doctor’s orders! He sees that the other side of the bed is already made, the dogs are no longer in the room, and his clothes are set out nicely on the loveseat.

Today, though, this man wakes up to something different: faded cream walls and jello. This person, my hero, is Master Chief Petty Officer Roger James.

I pulled up my chair close to Roger’s vinyl recliner so I could hear him above the noise of the beeping dialysis machine. I noticed Roger would occasionally glance at his wife Susan with sparkly eyes when he would recall memories of the war or their grandkids. He looked at Susan like she walked on water.

Roger James served his country for thirty years. Now, he has enlisted in another type of war. He suffers from a rare blood cancer—the result of the wars he fought in. Roger has good and bad days. He says, “The good outweighs the bad, so I have to be grateful for what I have on those good days.”

When Roger retired, he never thought the effects of the war would reach him. The once shallow wrinkles upon his face become deeper, as he tells me, “It’s just cancer. Others are suffering from far worse. I know I’ll make it.”

Like Nancy Hill did in her article “Three Things that Matter Most in Youth and Old Age,” I asked Roger, “What are the three most important things to you?” James answered, “My wife Susan, my grandkids, and church.”

Roger and Susan served together in the Vietnam war. She was a nurse who treated his cuts and scrapes one day. I asked Roger why he chose Susan. He said, “Susan told me to look at her while she cleaned me up. ‘This may sting, but don’t be a baby.’ When I looked into her eyes, I felt like she was looking into my soul, and I didn’t want her to leave. She gave me this sense of home. Every day I wake up, she makes me feel the same way, and I fall in love with her all over again.”

Roger and Susan have two kids and four grandkids, with great-grandchildren on the way. He claims that his grandkids give him the youth that he feels slowly escaping from his body. This adoring grandfather is energized by coaching t-ball and playing evening card games with the grandkids.

The last thing on his list was church. His oldest daughter married a pastor. Together they founded a church. Roger said that the connection between his faith and family is important to him because it gave him a reason to want to live again. I learned from Roger that when you’re across the ocean, you tend to lose sight of why you are fighting. When Roger returned, he didn’t have the will to live. Most days were a struggle, adapting back into a society that lacked empathy for the injuries, pain, and psychological trauma carried by returning soldiers. Church changed that for Roger and gave him a sense of purpose.

When I began this project, my attitude was to just get the assignment done. I never thought I could view Master Chief Petty Officer Roger James as more than a role model, but he definitely changed my mind. It’s as if Roger magically lit a fire inside of me and showed me where one’s true passions should lie. I see our similarities and embrace our differences. We both value family and our own connections to home—his home being church and mine being where I can breathe the easiest.

Master Chief Petty Officer Roger James has shown me how to appreciate what I have around me and that every once in a while, I should step back and stop to smell the roses. As we concluded the interview, amidst squeaky clogs and the stale smell of bleach and bedpans, I looked to Roger, his kind, tired eyes, and weathered skin, with a deeper sense of admiration, knowing that his values still run true, no matter what he faces.

Emily Greenbaum is a senior at Kent State University, graduating with a major in Conflict Management and minor in Geography. Emily hopes to use her major to facilitate better conversations, while she works in the Washington, D.C. area.  

Powerful Voice Winner

Amanda Schwaben

heart touching essay on life

Wise Words From Winnie the Pooh

As I read through Nancy Hill’s article “Three Things That Matter Most in Youth and Old Age,” I was comforted by the similar responses given by both children and older adults. The emphasis participants placed on family, social connections, and love was not only heartwarming but hopeful. While the messages in the article filled me with warmth, I felt a twinge of guilt building within me. As a twenty-one-year-old college student weeks from graduation, I honestly don’t think much about the most important things in life. But if I was asked, I would most likely say family, friendship, and love. As much as I hate to admit it, I often find myself obsessing over achieving a successful career and finding a way to “save the world.”

A few weeks ago, I was at my family home watching the new Winnie the Pooh movie Christopher Robin with my mom and younger sister. Well, I wasn’t really watching. I had my laptop in front of me, and I was aggressively typing up an assignment. Halfway through the movie, I realized I left my laptop charger in my car. I walked outside into the brisk March air. Instinctively, I looked up. The sky was perfectly clear, revealing a beautiful array of stars. When my twin sister and I were in high school, we would always take a moment to look up at the sparkling night sky before we came into the house after soccer practice.

I think that was the last time I stood in my driveway and gazed at the stars. I did not get the laptop charger from

heart touching essay on life

my car; instead, I turned around and went back inside. I shut my laptop and watched the rest of the movie. My twin sister loves Winnie the Pooh. So much so that my parents got her a stuffed animal version of him for Christmas. While I thought he was adorable and a token of my childhood, I did not really understand her obsession. However, it was clear to me after watching the movie. Winnie the Pooh certainly had it figured out. He believed that the simple things in life were the most important: love, friendship, and having fun.

I thought about asking my mom right then what the three most important things were to her, but I decided not to. I just wanted to be in the moment. I didn’t want to be doing homework. It was a beautiful thing to just sit there and be present with my mom and sister.

I did ask her, though, a couple of weeks later. Her response was simple.  All she said was family, health, and happiness. When she told me this, I imagined Winnie the Pooh smiling. I think he would be proud of that answer.

I was not surprised by my mom’s reply. It suited her perfectly. I wonder if we relearn what is most important when we grow older—that the pressure to be successful subsides. Could it be that valuing family, health, and happiness is what ends up saving the world?

Amanda Schwaben is a graduating senior from Kent State University with a major in Applied Conflict Management. Amanda also has minors in Psychology and Interpersonal Communication. She hopes to further her education and focus on how museums not only preserve history but also promote peace.

Antonia Mills

Rachel Carson High School, Brooklyn, N.Y. 

heart touching essay on life

Decoding The Butterfly

For a caterpillar to become a butterfly, it must first digest itself. The caterpillar, overwhelmed by accumulating tissue, splits its skin open to form its protective shell, the chrysalis, and later becomes the pretty butterfly we all know and love. There are approximately 20,000 species of butterflies, and just as every species is different, so is the life of every butterfly. No matter how long and hard a caterpillar has strived to become the colorful and vibrant butterfly that we marvel at on a warm spring day, it does not live a long life. A butterfly can live for a year, six months, two weeks, and even as little as twenty-four hours.

I have often wondered if butterflies live long enough to be blissful of blue skies. Do they take time to feast upon the sweet nectar they crave, midst their hustling life of pollinating pretty flowers? Do they ever take a lull in their itineraries, or are they always rushing towards completing their four-stage metamorphosis? Has anyone asked the butterfly, “Who are you?” instead of “What are you”? Or, How did you get here, on my windowsill?  How did you become ‘you’?

Humans are similar to butterflies. As a caterpillar

heart touching essay on life

Suzanna Ruby/Getty Images

becomes a butterfly, a baby becomes an elder. As a butterfly soars through summer skies, an elder watches summer skies turn into cold winter nights and back toward summer skies yet again.  And as a butterfly flits slowly by the porch light, a passerby makes assumptions about the wrinkled, slow-moving elder, who is sturdier than he appears. These creatures are not seen for who they are—who they were—because people have “better things to do” or they are too busy to ask, “How are you”?

Our world can be a lonely place. Pressured by expectations, haunted by dreams, overpowered by weakness, and drowned out by lofty goals, we tend to forget ourselves—and others. Rather than hang onto the strands of our diminishing sanity, we might benefit from listening to our elders. Many elders have experienced setbacks in their young lives. Overcoming hardship and surviving to old age is wisdom that they carry.  We can learn from them—and can even make their day by taking the time to hear their stories.  

Nancy Hill, who wrote the YES! Magazine article “Three Things That Matter Most in Youth and Old Age,” was right: “We live among such remarkable people, yet few know their stories.” I know a lot about my grandmother’s life, and it isn’t as serene as my own. My grandmother, Liza, who cooks every day, bakes bread on holidays for our neighbors, brings gifts to her doctor out of the kindness of her heart, and makes conversation with neighbors even though she is isn’t fluent in English—Russian is her first language—has struggled all her life. Her mother, Anna, a single parent, had tuberculosis, and even though she had an inviolable spirit, she was too frail to care for four children. She passed away when my grandmother was sixteen, so my grandmother and her siblings spent most of their childhood in an orphanage. My grandmother got married at nineteen to my grandfather, Pinhas. He was a man who loved her more than he loved himself and was a godsend to every person he met. Liza was—and still is—always quick to do what was best for others, even if that person treated her poorly. My grandmother has lived with physical pain all her life, yet she pushed herself to climb heights that she wasn’t ready for. Against all odds, she has lived to tell her story to people who are willing to listen. And I always am.

I asked my grandmother, “What are three things most important to you?” Her answer was one that I already expected: One, for everyone to live long healthy lives. Two, for you to graduate from college. Three, for you to always remember that I love you.

What may be basic to you means the world to my grandmother. She just wants what she never had the chance to experience: a healthy life, an education, and the chance to express love to the people she values. The three things that matter most to her may be so simple and ordinary to outsiders, but to her, it is so much more. And who could take that away?

Antonia Mills was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and attends Rachel Carson High School.  Antonia enjoys creative activities, including writing, painting, reading, and baking. She hopes to pursue culinary arts professionally in the future. One of her favorite quotes is, “When you start seeing your worth, you’ll find it harder to stay around people who don’t.” -Emily S.P.  

  Powerful Voice Winner

   Isaac Ziemba

Odyssey Multiage Program, Bainbridge Island, Wash. 

heart touching essay on life

This Former State Trooper Has His Priorities Straight: Family, Climate Change, and Integrity

I have a personal connection to people who served in the military and first responders. My uncle is a first responder on the island I live on, and my dad retired from the Navy. That was what made a man named Glen Tyrell, a state trooper for 25 years, 2 months and 9 days, my first choice to interview about what three things matter in life. In the YES! Magazine article “The Three Things That Matter Most in Youth and Old Age,” I learned that old and young people have a great deal in common. I know that’s true because Glen and I care about a lot of the same things.

For Glen, family is at the top of his list of important things. “My wife was, and is, always there for me. My daughters mean the world to me, too, but Penny is my partner,” Glen said. I can understand why Glen’s wife is so important to him. She’s family. Family will always be there for you.

Glen loves his family, and so do I with all my heart. My dad especially means the world to me. He is my top supporter and tells me that if I need help, just “say the word.” When we are fishing or crabbing, sometimes I

heart touching essay on life

think, what if these times were erased from my memory? I wouldn’t be able to describe the horrible feeling that would rush through my mind, and I’m sure that Glen would feel the same about his wife.

My uncle once told me that the world is always going to change over time. It’s what the world has turned out to be that worries me. Both Glen and I are extremely concerned about climate change and the effect that rising temperatures have on animals and their habitats. We’re driving them to extinction. Some people might say, “So what? Animals don’t pay taxes or do any of the things we do.” What we are doing to them is like the Black Death times 100.

Glen is also frustrated by how much plastic we use and where it ends up. He would be shocked that an explorer recently dived to the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean—seven miles!— and discovered a plastic bag and candy wrappers. Glen told me that, unfortunately, his generation did the damage and my generation is here to fix it. We need to take better care of Earth because if we don’t, we, as a species, will have failed.

Both Glen and I care deeply for our families and the earth, but for our third important value, I chose education and Glen chose integrity. My education is super important to me because without it, I would be a blank slate. I wouldn’t know how to figure out problems. I wouldn’t be able to tell right from wrong. I wouldn’t understand the Bill of Rights. I would be stuck. Everyone should be able to go to school, no matter where they’re from or who they are.  It makes me angry and sad to think that some people, especially girls, get shot because they are trying to go to school. I understand how lucky I am.

Integrity is sacred to Glen—I could tell by the serious tone of Glen’s voice when he told me that integrity was the code he lived by as a former state trooper. He knew that he had the power to change a person’s life, and he was committed to not abusing that power.  When Glen put someone under arrest—and my uncle says the same—his judgment and integrity were paramount. “Either you’re right or you’re wrong.” You can’t judge a person by what you think, you can only judge a person from what you know.”

I learned many things about Glen and what’s important in life, but there is one thing that stands out—something Glen always does and does well. Glen helps people. He did it as a state trooper, and he does it in our school, where he works on construction projects. Glen told me that he believes that our most powerful tools are writing and listening to others. I think those tools are important, too, but I also believe there are other tools to help solve many of our problems and create a better future: to be compassionate, to create caring relationships, and to help others. Just like Glen Tyrell does each and every day.

Isaac Ziemba is in seventh grade at the Odyssey Multiage Program on a small island called Bainbridge near Seattle, Washington. Isaac’s favorite subject in school is history because he has always been interested in how the past affects the future. In his spare time, you can find Isaac hunting for crab with his Dad, looking for artifacts around his house with his metal detector, and having fun with his younger cousin, Conner.     

Lily Hersch

 The Crest Academy, Salida, Colo.

heart touching essay on life

The Phone Call

Dear Grandpa,

In my short span of life—12 years so far—you’ve taught me a lot of important life lessons that I’ll always have with me. Some of the values I talk about in this writing I’ve learned from you.

Dedicated to my Gramps.

In the YES! Magazine article “Three Things That Matter Most in Youth and Old Age,” author and photographer Nancy Hill asked people to name the three things that mattered most to them. After reading the essay prompt for the article, I immediately knew who I wanted to interview: my grandpa Gil.      

My grandpa was born on January 25, 1942. He lived in a minuscule tenement in The Bronx with his mother,

heart touching essay on life

father, and brother. His father wasn’t around much, and, when he was, he was reticent and would snap occasionally, revealing his constrained mental pain. My grandpa says this happened because my great grandfather did not have a father figure in his life. His mother was a classy, sharp lady who was the head secretary at a local police district station. My grandpa and his brother Larry did not care for each other. Gramps said he was very close to his mother, and Larry wasn’t. Perhaps Larry was envious for what he didn’t have.

Decades after little to no communication with his brother, my grandpa decided to spontaneously visit him in Florida, where he resided with his wife. Larry was taken aback at the sudden reappearance of his brother and told him to leave. Since then, the two brothers have not been in contact. My grandpa doesn’t even know if Larry is alive.         

My grandpa is now a retired lawyer, married to my wonderful grandma, and living in a pretty house with an ugly dog named BoBo.

So, what’s important to you, Gramps?

He paused a second, then replied, “Family, kindness, and empathy.”

“Family, because it’s my family. It’s important to stay connected with your family. My brother, father, and I never connected in the way I wished, and sometimes I contemplated what could’ve happened.  But you can’t change the past. So, that’s why family’s important to me.”

Family will always be on my “Top Three Most Important Things” list, too. I can’t imagine not having my older brother, Zeke, or my grandma in my life. I wonder how other kids feel about their families? How do kids trapped and separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border feel?  What about orphans? Too many questions, too few answers.

“Kindness, because growing up and not seeing a lot of kindness made me realize how important it is to have that in the world. Kindness makes the world go round.”

What is kindness? Helping my brother, Eli, who has Down syndrome, get ready in the morning? Telling people what they need to hear, rather than what they want to hear? Maybe, for now, I’ll put wisdom, not kindness, on my list.

“Empathy, because of all the killings and shootings [in this country.] We also need to care for people—people who are not living in as good circumstances as I have. Donald Trump and other people I’ve met have no empathy. Empathy is very important.”

Empathy is something I’ve felt my whole life. It’ll always be important to me like it is important to my grandpa. My grandpa shows his empathy when he works with disabled children. Once he took a disabled child to a Christina Aguilera concert because that child was too young to go by himself. The moments I feel the most empathy are when Eli gets those looks from people. Seeing Eli wonder why people stare at him like he’s a freak makes me sad, and annoyed that they have the audacity to stare.

After this 2 minute and 36-second phone call, my grandpa has helped me define what’s most important to me at this time in my life: family, wisdom, and empathy. Although these things are important now, I realize they can change and most likely will.

When I’m an old woman, I envision myself scrambling through a stack of storage boxes and finding this paper. Perhaps after reading words from my 12-year-old self, I’ll ask myself “What’s important to me?”

Lily Hersch is a sixth-grader at Crest Academy in Salida, Colorado. Lily is an avid indoorsman, finding joy in competitive spelling, art, and of course, writing. She does not like Swiss cheese.

  “Tell It Like It Is” Interview Winner

Jonas Buckner

KIPP: Gaston College Preparatory, Gaston, N.C.

heart touching essay on life

Lessons My Nana Taught Me

I walked into the house. In the other room, I heard my cousin screaming at his game. There were a lot of Pioneer Woman dishes everywhere. The room had the television on max volume. The fan in the other room was on. I didn’t know it yet, but I was about to learn something powerful.

I was in my Nana’s house, and when I walked in, she said, “Hey Monkey Butt.”

I said, “Hey Nana.”

Before the interview, I was talking to her about what I was gonna interview her on. Also, I had asked her why I might have wanted to interview her, and she responded with, “Because you love me, and I love you too.”

Now, it was time to start the interview. The first

heart touching essay on life

question I asked was the main and most important question ever: “What three things matter most to you and you only?”

She thought of it very thoughtfully and responded with, “My grandchildren, my children, and my health.”

Then, I said, “OK, can you please tell me more about your health?”

She responded with, “My health is bad right now. I have heart problems, blood sugar, and that’s about it.” When she said it, she looked at me and smiled because she loved me and was happy I chose her to interview.

I replied with, “K um, why is it important to you?”

She smiled and said, “Why is it…Why is my health important? Well, because I want to live a long time and see my grandchildren grow up.”

I was scared when she said that, but she still smiled. I was so happy, and then I said, “Has your health always been important to you.”

She responded with “Nah.”

Then, I asked, “Do you happen to have a story to help me understand your reasoning?”

She said, “No, not really.”

Now we were getting into the next set of questions. I said, “Remember how you said that your grandchildren matter to you? Can you please tell me why they matter to you?”

Then, she responded with, “So I can spend time with them, play with them, and everything.”

Next, I asked the same question I did before: “Have you always loved your grandchildren?” 

She responded with, “Yes, they have always been important to me.”

Then, the next two questions I asked she had no response to at all. She was very happy until I asked, “Why do your children matter most to you?”

She had a frown on and responded, “My daughter Tammy died a long time ago.”

Then, at this point, the other questions were answered the same as the other ones. When I left to go home I was thinking about how her answers were similar to mine. She said health, and I care about my health a lot, and I didn’t say, but I wanted to. She also didn’t have answers for the last two questions on each thing, and I was like that too.

The lesson I learned was that no matter what, always keep pushing because even though my aunt or my Nana’s daughter died, she kept on pushing and loving everyone. I also learned that everything should matter to us. Once again, I chose to interview my Nana because she matters to me, and I know when she was younger she had a lot of things happen to her, so I wanted to know what she would say. The point I’m trying to make is that be grateful for what you have and what you have done in life.

Jonas Buckner is a sixth-grader at KIPP: Gaston College Preparatory in Gaston, North Carolina. Jonas’ favorite activities are drawing, writing, math, piano, and playing AltSpace VR. He found his passion for writing in fourth grade when he wrote a quick autobiography. Jonas hopes to become a horror writer someday.

From The Author: Responses to Student Winners

Dear Emily, Isaac, Antonia, Rory, Praethong, Amanda, Lily, and Jonas,

Your thought-provoking essays sent my head spinning. The more I read, the more impressed I was with the depth of thought, beauty of expression, and originality. It left me wondering just how to capture all of my reactions in a single letter. After multiple false starts, I’ve landed on this: I will stick to the theme of three most important things.

The three things I found most inspirational about your essays:

You listened.

You connected.

We live in troubled times. Tensions mount between countries, cultures, genders, religious beliefs, and generations. If we fail to find a way to understand each other, to see similarities between us, the future will be fraught with increased hostility.

You all took critical steps toward connecting with someone who might not value the same things you do by asking a person who is generations older than you what matters to them. Then, you listened to their answers. You saw connections between what is important to them and what is important to you. Many of you noted similarities, others wondered if your own list of the three most important things would change as you go through life. You all saw the validity of the responses you received and looked for reasons why your interviewees have come to value what they have.

It is through these things—asking, listening, and connecting—that we can begin to bridge the differences in experiences and beliefs that are currently dividing us.

Individual observations

Each one of you made observations that all of us, regardless of age or experience, would do well to keep in mind. I chose one quote from each person and trust those reading your essays will discover more valuable insights.

“Our priorities may seem different, but they come back to basic human needs. We all desire a purpose, strive to be happy, and work to make a positive impact.” 

“You can’t judge a person by what you think , you can only judge a person by what you know .”

Emily (referencing your interviewee, who is battling cancer):

“Master Chief Petty Officer James has shown me how to appreciate what I have around me.”

Lily (quoting your grandfather):

“Kindness makes the world go round.”

“Everything should matter to us.”

Praethong (quoting your interviewee, Sandra, on the importance of family):

“It’s important to always maintain that connection you have with each other, your family, not just next-door neighbors you talk to once a month.”

“I wonder if maybe we relearn what is most important when we grow older. That the pressure to be successful subsides and that valuing family, health, and happiness is what ends up saving the world.”

“Listen to what others have to say. Listen to the people who have already experienced hardship. You will learn from them and you can even make their day by giving them a chance to voice their thoughts.”

I end this letter to you with the hope that you never stop asking others what is most important to them and that you to continue to take time to reflect on what matters most to you…and why. May you never stop asking, listening, and connecting with others, especially those who may seem to be unlike you. Keep writing, and keep sharing your thoughts and observations with others, for your ideas are awe-inspiring.

I also want to thank the more than 1,000 students who submitted essays. Together, by sharing what’s important to us with others, especially those who may believe or act differently, we can fill the world with joy, peace, beauty, and love.

We received many outstanding essays for the Winter 2019 Student Writing Competition. Though not every participant can win the contest, we’d like to share some excerpts that caught our eye:

Whether it is a painting on a milky canvas with watercolors or pasting photos onto a scrapbook with her granddaughters, it is always a piece of artwork to her. She values the things in life that keep her in the moment, while still exploring things she may not have initially thought would bring her joy.

—Ondine Grant-Krasno, Immaculate Heart Middle School, Los Angeles, Calif.

“Ganas”… It means “desire” in Spanish. My ganas is fueled by my family’s belief in me. I cannot and will not fail them. 

—Adan Rios, Lane Community College, Eugene, Ore.

I hope when I grow up I can have the love for my kids like my grandma has for her kids. She makes being a mother even more of a beautiful thing than it already is.

—Ashley Shaw, Columbus City Prep School for Girls, Grove City, Ohio

You become a collage of little pieces of your friends and family. They also encourage you to be the best you can be. They lift you up onto the seat of your bike, they give you the first push, and they don’t hesitate to remind you that everything will be alright when you fall off and scrape your knee.

— Cecilia Stanton, Bellafonte Area Middle School, Bellafonte, Pa.

Without good friends, I wouldn’t know what I would do to endure the brutal machine of public education.

—Kenneth Jenkins, Garrison Middle School, Walla Walla, Wash.

My dog, as ridiculous as it may seem, is a beautiful example of what we all should aspire to be. We should live in the moment, not stress, and make it our goal to lift someone’s spirits, even just a little.

—Kate Garland, Immaculate Heart Middle School, Los Angeles, Calif. 

I strongly hope that every child can spare more time to accompany their elderly parents when they are struggling, and moving forward, and give them more care and patience. so as to truly achieve the goal of “you accompany me to grow up, and I will accompany you to grow old.”

—Taiyi Li, Lane Community College, Eugene, Ore.

I have three cats, and they are my brothers and sisters. We share a special bond that I think would not be possible if they were human. Since they do not speak English, we have to find other ways to connect, and I think that those other ways can be more powerful than language.

—Maya Dombroskie, Delta Program Middle School, Boulsburg, Pa.

We are made to love and be loved. To have joy and be relational. As a member of the loneliest generation in possibly all of history, I feel keenly aware of the need for relationships and authentic connection. That is why I decided to talk to my grandmother.

—Luke Steinkamp, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio

After interviewing my grandma and writing my paper, I realized that as we grow older, the things that are important to us don’t change, what changes is why those things are important to us.

—Emily Giffer, Our Lady Star of the Sea, Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.

The media works to marginalize elders, often isolating them and their stories, and the wealth of knowledge that comes with their additional years of lived experiences. It also undermines the depth of children’s curiosity and capacity to learn and understand. When the worlds of elders and children collide, a classroom opens.

—Cristina Reitano, City College of San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif.

My values, although similar to my dad, only looked the same in the sense that a shadow is similar to the object it was cast on.

—Timofey Lisenskiy, Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica, Calif.

I can release my anger through writing without having to take it out on someone. I can escape and be a different person; it feels good not to be myself for a while. I can make up my own characters, so I can be someone different every day, and I think that’s pretty cool.

—Jasua Carillo, Wellness, Business, and Sports School, Woodburn, Ore. 

Notice how all the important things in his life are people: the people who he loves and who love him back. This is because “people are more important than things like money or possessions, and families are treasures,” says grandpa Pat. And I couldn’t agree more.

—Brody Hartley, Garrison Middle School, Walla Walla, Wash.  

Curiosity for other people’s stories could be what is needed to save the world.

—Noah Smith, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio

Peace to me is a calm lake without a ripple in sight. It’s a starry night with a gentle breeze that pillows upon your face. It’s the absence of arguments, fighting, or war. It’s when egos stop working against each other and finally begin working with each other. Peace is free from fear, anxiety, and depression. To me, peace is an important ingredient in the recipe of life.

—JP Bogan, Lane Community College, Eugene, Ore.

From A Teacher

Charles Sanderson

Wellness, Business and Sports School, Woodburn, Ore. 

heart touching essay on life

The Birthday Gift

I’ve known Jodelle for years, watching her grow from a quiet and timid twelve-year-old to a young woman who just returned from India, where she played Kabaddi, a kind of rugby meets Red Rover.

One of my core beliefs as an educator is to show up for the things that matter to kids, so I go to their games, watch their plays, and eat the strawberry jam they make for the county fair. On this occasion, I met Jodelle at a robotics competition to watch her little sister Abby compete. Think Nerd Paradise: more hats made from traffic cones than Golden State Warrior ball caps, more unicorn capes than Nike swooshes, more fanny packs with Legos than clutches with eyeliner.

We started chatting as the crowd chanted and waved six-foot flags for teams like Mystic Biscuits, Shrek, and everyone’s nemesis The Mean Machine. Apparently, when it’s time for lunch at a robotics competition, they don’t mess around. The once-packed gym was left to Jodelle and me, and we kept talking and talking. I eventually asked her about the three things that matter to her most.

She told me about her mom, her sister, and her addiction—to horses. I’ve read enough of her writing to know that horses were her drug of choice and her mom and sister were her support network.

I learned about her desire to become a teacher and how hours at the barn with her horse, Heart, recharge her when she’s exhausted. At one point, our rambling conversation turned to a topic I’ve known far too well—her father.

Later that evening, I received an email from Jodelle, and she had a lot to say. One line really struck me: “In so many movies, I have seen a dad wanting to protect his daughter from the world, but I’ve only understood the scene cognitively. Yesterday, I felt it.”

Long ago, I decided that I would never be a dad. I had seen movies with fathers and daughters, and for me, those movies might as well have been Star Wars, ET, or Alien—worlds filled with creatures I’d never know. However, over the years, I’ve attended Jodelle’s parent-teacher conferences, gone to her graduation, and driven hours to watch her ride Heart at horse shows. Simply, I showed up. I listened. I supported.

Jodelle shared a series of dad poems, as well. I had read the first two poems in their original form when Jodelle was my student. The revised versions revealed new graphic details of her past. The third poem, however, was something entirely different.

She called the poems my early birthday present. When I read the lines “You are my father figure/Who I look up to/Without being looked down on,” I froze for an instant and had to reread the lines. After fifty years of consciously deciding not to be a dad, I was seen as one—and it felt incredible. Jodelle’s poem and recognition were two of the best presents I’ve ever received.

I  know that I was the language arts teacher that Jodelle needed at the time, but her poem revealed things I never knew I taught her: “My father figure/ Who taught me/ That listening is for observing the world/ That listening is for learning/Not obeying/Writing is for connecting/Healing with others.”

Teaching is often a thankless job, one that frequently brings more stress and anxiety than joy and hope. Stress erodes my patience. Anxiety curtails my ability to enter each interaction with every student with the grace they deserve. However, my time with Jodelle reminds me of the importance of leaning in and listening.

In the article “Three Things That Matter Most in Youth and Old Age” by Nancy Hill, she illuminates how we “live among such remarkable people, yet few know their stories.” For the last twenty years, I’ve had the privilege to work with countless of these “remarkable people,” and I’ve done my best to listen, and, in so doing, I hope my students will realize what I’ve known for a long time; their voices matter and deserve to be heard, but the voices of their tias and abuelitos and babushkas are equally important. When we take the time to listen, I believe we do more than affirm the humanity of others; we affirm our own as well.

Charles Sanderson has grounded his nineteen-year teaching career in a philosophy he describes as “Mirror, Window, Bridge.” Charles seeks to ensure all students see themselves, see others, and begin to learn the skills to build bridges of empathy, affinity, and understanding between communities and cultures that may seem vastly different. He proudly teaches at the Wellness, Business and Sports School in Woodburn, Oregon, a school and community that brings him joy and hope on a daily basis.

From   The Author: Response to Charles Sanderson

Dear Charles Sanderson,

Thank you for submitting an essay of your own in addition to encouraging your students to participate in YES! Magazine’s essay contest.

Your essay focused not on what is important to you, but rather on what is important to one of your students. You took what mattered to her to heart, acting upon it by going beyond the school day and creating a connection that has helped fill a huge gap in her life. Your efforts will affect her far beyond her years in school. It is clear that your involvement with this student is far from the only time you have gone beyond the classroom, and while you are not seeking personal acknowledgment, I cannot help but applaud you.

In an ideal world, every teacher, every adult, would show the same interest in our children and adolescents that you do. By taking the time to listen to what is important to our youth, we can help them grow into compassionate, caring adults, capable of making our world a better place.

Your concerted efforts to guide our youth to success not only as students but also as human beings is commendable. May others be inspired by your insights, concerns, and actions. You define excellence in teaching.

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  • Heart Touching Poems About Life: Exploring the Depths of Emotion

Poetry has always been a powerful medium through which individuals express their deepest emotions, thoughts, and experiences. When it comes to poems that touch the heart, there is something uniquely captivating about those that delve into the complexities of life. In this article, we will explore a few heart touching poems that beautifully encapsulate the essence of life's journey, its ups and downs, and the emotions that accompany it.

1. "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

2. "still i rise" by maya angelou, 3. "invictus" by william ernest henley, 4. "if" by rudyard kipling.

This iconic poem by Robert Frost is a true masterpiece that resonates deeply with readers. It presents the idea of choices and decisions in life, reflecting on the paths we take and the ones we leave behind. The final lines, " Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference. " evoke a profound sense of self-reflection, leaving the reader pondering their own choices and the impact they have had on their lives.

Maya Angelou's empowering poem, "Still I Rise," is a testament to the strength and resilience of the human spirit. It celebrates overcoming adversity and embracing one's own worth. The lines, " Just like moons and like suns, / With the certainty of tides, / Just like hopes springing high, / Still I'll rise. " resonate with readers, reminding them to rise above challenges and never lose their sense of self-worth.

"Invictus" by William Ernest Henley is a powerful poem that explores the indomitable spirit of the human soul. It emphasizes the importance of resilience and determination in the face of adversity. The lines, " I am the master of my fate: / I am the captain of my soul. " serve as a reminder that regardless of the circumstances, the power to shape our own destiny lies within us.

Rudyard Kipling's timeless poem, "If," offers valuable life lessons and guidance on how to navigate the complexities of existence. It imparts wisdom on subjects like integrity, perseverance, and self-belief. The lines, " If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster / And treat those two impostors just the same; / Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, / And—which is more—you'll be a Man, my son!" inspire readers to adopt a balanced perspective and maintain their character in the face of triumph or defeat.

These heart touching poems about life serve as a reminder of the beauty and complexities that come with our existence. They capture the essence of human emotions, inspiring us to reflect, grow, and find solace in the shared experiences of others. Poetry has the power to touch our hearts and illuminate the path towards self-discovery and understanding. So, take a moment to immerse yourself in the world of these profound poems and let them guide you on your own journey through life.

  • The Majestic Cardinals: Inspiring Poetry with their Vibrant Splendor
  • Surfing Poems: Riding the Waves of Life

Entradas Relacionadas

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Poems About Our Future Together: Embracing Hope and Possibility

The Power of Poetry: Capturing the Essence of Life

Poems about Emotions for Preschoolers

Poems about Surviving Depression: A Journey of Hope and Healing

Setting Goals: A Poetic Journey Towards Achievement

3 Heartwarming Essays That'll Make You Want to Hug Your Best Friend

REDBOOK listed a call-out for your best, most heart wrenching stories of best friendship, and needless to say we went through several boxes of tissue deciding the winners. Grab your own box, call your bestie, and enjoy our top three friendship essay contest winners.

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First place: Karen Lee

Making friends growing up was easy. You have things in common with your classmates and you eventually get to know each other, but once you enter the post-college world that effortless connection isn't always so easy. In fact, after I had my daughter in 2007 I started becoming more distant with my contemporaries. Everyone was going through a major life change—getting married, changing jobs, moving across the country, having kids. How are 30 and 40-somethings expected to stay close when our lives are changing so drastically at the same time? It turns out that we typically drift apart, and after years of drifting I realized how truly starved I was for a friendship. I felt isolated in my stay-at-home mom life, but then in the spring of 2013 I met Edythe, and that isolated feeling vanished forever.

Edythe and I met when we sat next to each other on the first day of a Mandarin class we'd both enrolled in at the local library, and at first glance you would assume we have nothing in common—mainly because at the time she was 83 and I was 41. The thought of having a close friend twice my age had never crossed my mind, but Edythe and I just clicked. I've always considered a good friend to be a good listener and someone who genuinely cares to know how you're doing and Edythe was both of those things. 

Early on in our friendship she and I began to see each other far more than twice a week at Mandarin class. We would see each other at library and community events and chat on the phone, and for the first time since my daughter was born we were having conversations that didn't involved motherhood. She and I never ran out of things to talk about – our love of reading, for one - and she quickly became a role model for me. 

Edythe had already experienced life's successes and failures, but she still had a confidence about her that made her easy to trust, and I very much did. One day after class I began to confide in Edythe my frustrations about my new position as head of the PTA at my daughter's school. I was hopeful at the prospect of making my daughter's school a better place, but I had no experience leading a group and had no idea what I was doing, and Edythe listened to my concerns. Instead of jumping into a whirlwind of advice, she told me about a time that she'd also jumped into something headfirst with no experience. 

Years before, Edythe became frustrated with her apartment's management company, so she rallied other tenants of the building to ditch the company and helped turn her building into a co-op. Suddenly, she was serving on the board and had to learn first-hand how to manage a crisis like a broken boiler in the middle of the night, but Edythe told me that even though it was a new situation, she thrived because she wanted it to be successful. Her gentle reminder helped me realize that you have to find something you're passionate about if you want to make a difference, and after our conversation I threw myself into making the PTA something I could be proud of. 

My daughter was a terrible eater from birth and I knew I couldn't be the only parent at this school with a picky eater. In my research I found a free 8-week nutrition program that could be brought to schools. They would set up a class, provide new recipes, and allow parents to learn to prepare food for the pickiest of eaters. It was slow going at first, but each week more and more parents would show up to try new recipes with their kids. What had begun as a way for me to help my child grew into something bigger, and through this workshop I found three active parents who would later help me turn around the PTA. 

I owe a lot to Edythe. Thanks to her I now have a supportive circle of friends as a volunteer at our library. I now know that I don't have to fix everything, and I know that sometimes silence is severely underrated, but perhaps the most important thing I've learned from her is that friendships are a very precious gift at any age. 

Runner up: Karen Waganer

In the spring of 2007 I'd suffered two insufferably tragic losses; my husband suddenly passed in April, and my mom lost her battle with breast cancer in July. Weeks after her death I was helping my dad go through my mom's belongings after when I had a break down. My mom had been my rock while I was grieving my husband's death, picking me back up when I was left to raise our three kids alone, and now I was without him and without her, my best friend.

As I sat on the ground going through her old purses one by one — keep, toss, keep, toss — loneliness completely overcame me and I thought out loud, "Who's going to be there for me now?" When I looked up I noticed a small, 2-inch silver angel tucked in one of the purses. I turned it over and saw the word "Hope" inscribed on the wings and knew instantly that my mom was with me and I would never have to worry about being alone. I still felt lonely, but also a sense of relief as I stowed the angel in my jewelry box and never thought about it again.

I'm a speech pathologist at an elementary school where my two oldest sons were enrolled at the time. Over the summer we'd been assigned a new guidance counselor and I sought her out before school started to let her know the basics of our family tragedy. From the very beginning she was kind and easy to talk to, and I found myself opening up to her like I'd never done with a coworker before. One minute we were discussing my grieving sons and the next we were joking and about paying our kids to sleep in their own beds at night. I could tell right away we'd become good friends.

Over the years we've grown closer than close. She introduced me to her group of friends and I'm so lucky to be included in their circle. She's been my closest confidant me as I've rebuilt my life, remarrying after my husband's death and ultimately divorcing. Just like my mom use to, she doesn't always agree with my decisions, but she's never been anything other than supportive of what I do, and for that I'm so thankful.

A few months ago I was cleaning out my jewelry box when I came across that small silver angel I'd forgotten about. Turning it over in my hand sent chills through my body as I read the word "Hope" inscribed between the wings. I knew when I found the angel that my mother was giving me a sign. What I didn't know was that she was telling me the name of my new best friend. I was helping my dad go through my mom's belongings after she died when I had a break down. It was July of 2007 and my husband had also died suddenly that April. My mom had been my rock while I was grieving his death, picking me back up when I was left to raise our three kids alone, and now I was without him and without her, my best friend.

Over the years we've grown closer than close. She introduced me to her group of friends and I'm so lucky to be included in their circle. She's been there for me as I remarried and was there for me when I divorced. She doesn't always agree with my decisions, but she's never been anything other than supportive of what I do – exactly as my mom used to.

A few months ago I was cleaning out my jewelry box when I came across that small silver angel I'd forgotten about. Turning it over in my hand sent chills through my body as I read the word "Hope" inscribed between the wings. I knew when I found the angel that my mother was giving me a sign. What I didn't know was that she was telling me the name of my new best friend.

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Runner up: Melissa Kaufmann

I lucked out; I've had a best friend since the moment I was born. My older sister Hope is smart, confident, outgoing, and she understands me more than anyone else ever could; we have one of those bonds where we can tell exactly what the other is thinking just by looking at each other. She really is my other half.

When I was 17, our parents divorced from their tumultuous relationship, and even from a distance while she was at college Hope became my primary source for affection. Our parents were never loving toward each other – we never saw them hugging or touching – so Hope and I learned to lean on one another. I was still in high school living at home as their relationship was falling apart around me, and Hope would answer every one of my phone calls and talk to me online between her classes, visiting as often as she could to make sure I was okay. 

While all of this was happening I was hospitalized after a lifelong battle with an eating disorder, and Hope was with me through that process too. She'd come home from school to go with me to every doctor's appointment and listened to me when I just needed to be heard. She knew about my long struggle with disordered eating and knew first-hand the problems out family was facing, and because of this she's one of the only people that continued to see me as myself when I changed on the outside. 

No matter what I go through, Hope is always my biggest advocate, and I am hers. Our family has had much more to reason to celebrate in the past few years, with my sister's marriage and her recently giving birth to my beautiful niece Brielle. It makes me so proud and so happy to see how great my sister is with my niece. The patience and compassion that have made her my lifelong best friend have now made her the world's greatest mom. Hope evokes the undeniable strength of womanhood, sisterhood, and now, motherhood, and having her in my life make me strive to be the same kind of happy, loving woman she is. I can't help but look forward to us aging gracefully together not only as sisters, but as the best of friends. In the spring of 1988, my parents gifted me not only with the gift of life, but an older sister and unbeknownst to them at the time, my best friend, Hope, whose name explains it all. From the moment we laid eyes on each other, we've upheld an indescribable bond, often unspoken, but deeply felt within both of our hearts. She's the one person I can go to without having to speak many words, yet she understands in a language all our own. We can simply look at one another, or utter a sound of phrase and instantly, we know the emotions buried deep within us. 

No matter where life has taken us though our respective 26 and 30-year lives, we easily weather through these often trying times together. Without judgment or criticism and only with an outstretched hand for support and listening ear, we watched each other navigate through broken friendships with others, my personal battle with an eating disorder, marriage to my now brother-in-law, and most recently, the birth of a child, my niece, Brielle.

My sister, Hope, is my best friend and to me, the person who is home, no matter where I am. Hearing her voice and being in her presence, is an inspiration to me as she evokes the undeniable strength of womanhood, sisterhood, and now, motherhood. Each day, I look to her in awe and admiration, blessed to have her as my support and strength, wiping my tears and sharing laughter, all the same.

I know, thus far, it's only been a sampling of what is to come as we will age gracefully together, building our families and our lives, one step at a time, side by side, not only as sisters, but as the best of friends.

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Essay on Life for Students and Children

500+ words essay on life.

First of all, Life refers to an aspect of existence. This aspect processes acts, evaluates, and evolves through growth. Life is what distinguishes humans from inorganic matter. Some individuals certainly enjoy free will in Life. Others like slaves and prisoners don’t have that privilege. However, Life isn’t just about living independently in society. It is certainly much more than that. Hence, quality of Life carries huge importance. Above all, the ultimate purpose should be to live a meaningful life. A meaningful life is one which allows us to connect with our deeper self.

essay on life

Why is Life Important?

One important aspect of Life is that it keeps going forward. This means nothing is permanent. Hence, there should be a reason to stay in dejection. A happy occasion will come to pass, just like a sad one. Above all, one must be optimistic no matter how bad things get. This is because nothing will stay forever. Every situation, occasion, and event shall pass. This is certainly a beauty of Life.

Many people become very sad because of failures . However, these people certainly fail to see the bright side. The bright side is that there is a reason for every failure. Therefore, every failure teaches us a valuable lesson. This means every failure builds experience. This experience is what improves the skills and efficiency of humans.

Probably a huge number of individuals complain that Life is a pain. Many people believe that the word pain is a synonym for Life. However, it is pain that makes us stronger. Pain is certainly an excellent way of increasing mental resilience. Above all, pain enriches the mind.

The uncertainty of death is what makes life so precious. No one knows the hour of one’s death. This probably is the most important reason to live life to the fullest. Staying in depression or being a workaholic is an utter wastage of Life. One must certainly enjoy the beautiful blessings of Life before death overtakes.

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How to Improve Quality of Life?

Most noteworthy, optimism is the ultimate way of enriching life. Optimism increases job performance, self-confidence, creativity, and skills. An optimistic person certainly can overcome huge hurdles.

Meditation is another useful way of improving Life quality. Meditation probably allows a person to dwell upon his past. This way one can avoid past mistakes. It also gives peace of mind to an individual. Furthermore, meditation reduces stress and tension.

Pursuing a hobby is a perfect way to bring meaning to life. Without a passion or interest, an individual’s life would probably be dull. Following a hobby certainly brings new energy to life. It provides new hope to live and experience Life.

In conclusion, Life is not something that one should take for granted. It’s certainly a shame to see individuals waste away their lives. We should be very thankful for experiencing our lives. Above all, everyone should try to make their life more meaningful.

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Sarah Guerrero

A self-taught artist, Sarah loves anything that has a unique aesthetic appeal and everything from her home to her work desk carries a stamp of personal taste. When she’s not busy at her desk job, she loves to pen her thoughts down and often engages in creating mood boards inspired by nature, fashion, culture, and art.

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44 Heart Touching Life Quotes to Celebrate the Beauty of Life!

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Life is a compilation of good and bad scenes. But most importantly, it’s a blessing upon us. And to celebrate the greatest blessing of all times, heart touching life quotes are here. 

These heart touching life quotes highlight the true essence of life. The beauty of life and its true potential cannot be realized unless you have joy and inspiration in your life. 

In today’s time, life is so technology driven and fast that we do not realize the beauty of life. But to grasp the spirit of the same here are some heart touching life quotes.

Table of Contents

Best heart touching life quotes .

1.“Life is trying things to see if they work.” 

~ Ray Bradbury 

2.  “You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated.” 

~ Maya Angelou

3. “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” 

4.   “If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.” 

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

5. “May my heart be kind. May my mind be fierce. May my spirit be brave.” 

~ Kate Forsythe

6. “I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love.”

~ Henry Ward Beecher

7. “You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down.” 

~ Charlie Chaplin

8.  “He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.” 

~ William Blake

9.  “Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.” 

~ Kahlil Gibran

Long heart touching life quotes 

10.  “Before you act, listen. Before you react, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you criticize, wait. Before you pray, forgive. Before you quit, try.” 

~ Ernest Hemingway

11. “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” 

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

12. “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” 

~ Thich-Nhat Hanh

13. “Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It solely relies on what you think.” 

14. “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”

~ Lucille Ball

15. “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” 

~ Denis Waitley

16. “If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing you can do is be present in the present. Gratefully.” 

17. “I am grateful for every precious moment life offers me. It allows me to see the miracle in each experience.” 

~ Emmanuel Dagher

18. “Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change.” 

~ Kushandwizdom

19. “Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” 

~ H. Jackson Brown

Be brave, heart touching life quotes 

20. “We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” 

~ Carlos Castenada

21. “What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.” 

22.  “Sometimes we’re tested. Not to show our weaknesses, but to discover our strengths.” 

23. “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” 

~ Oscar Wilde

24. “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” 

~ Albert Einstein

25.  “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” 

~ Christopher Robin

Inspirational and Heart touching life quotes 

26. “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

27. “You have never really lived until you’ve done something for someone who can never repay you.” 

~ John Bunyan

28. “We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”

~ May Sarton

29.  “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

~ George Bernard Shaw

30. The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.”

~ Audrey Hepburn

31. “I am life that wants to live, in the midst of life that wants to live.” 

~ Albert Schweitzer

32. “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”

33. “If my life is going to mean anything, I have to live it myself.”

~ Rick Riordan

34. “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

~ Dr. Seuss

35. “People aren’t born good or bad. Maybe they’re born with tendencies either way, but its the way you live your life that matters.”

~ Cassandra Clare

36. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

~ J.K. Rowling

37.  “Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.”

~ Stephen Chbosky

38.  “The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”

~ Walt Disney 

39. “No matter what has happened. No matter what you’ve done. No matter what you will do. I will always love you. I swear it.” 

~ C.J. Redwine

40. “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”

~ Kurt Vonnegut

41. “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” 

~ Oprah Winfrey

42. “While we are living in the present, we must celebrate life every day, knowing that we are becoming history with every work, every action, every deed.” 

~ Mattie Stepanek

43. “Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.”

~ Margaret Mitchell

44. “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”

~ Douglas Adams

Bottom Line

Heart touching life quotes are very optimistic and inspirational. They may help you overcome the negativity of life, and provide you with a good perspective towards life. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s you who has complete control of your life! 

Disha Bhalla

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