The Serenity Prayer—commonly, though uncertainly 1 attributed to 20th century American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr— makes a stark call to thinking responsibly:
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
There is a dividing line on the continuum of ‘things’; on one side are things I can change; on the other things I can’t change. We all draw this line— some draw it too far to one side, others draw it too far to the other, too many of us have drawn it in the wrong spot, and —crucially— most of us give little consideration to if we drew it in the right spot or not.
- Serenity Prayer Stirs Up Doubt: Who Wrote It?, Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times, July 11, 2008[↩]