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Writing from the Heart offers us a unique window into what young people have learned about life. This collection of essays captures the values that matter most to teens—values such as love, perseverance, family, and helping others—in their own words. As the young writers reflect on their own experience, readers of all ages will be inspired by their wisdom and hope.

From Chattanooga to China, these essays are all extraordinary. They not only celebrate the accomplishments of the young writers, but also offer an opportunity to peer into the hearts and minds of young people around the world. Readers may be amazed at some of the hardships that these teens have faced, but will have a deep sense of optimism for our future. In addition, they inspire us to make the most of our lives as well.

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Exam copies are sent to professors who would like to review the book before deciding whether to use it in a class. To request an exam copy, you must fill out the form below. It will automatically be sent to a staff member.

In our efforts to stay green, reduce expenses, and maintain scholarly accessibility, we are sending examination copies as electronic downloads in the Adobe Digital Edition format for a 90-day review period. If you have any trouble accessing the book in this format, please contact us and we will send a traditional copy of the book instead.

If you chose to review the electronic version of the book and adopt the book for one of your courses, upon notification by you or your bookstore, a traditional bound book will be sent to you free of charge.

Requesting a Desk Copy

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The order of the essays in this volume chronicles the growth of the Laws of Life Essay Contest from the first contest in Tennessee launched in 1987 to the most recent contest in Nebraska that began in 2000.

Foreword by Sir John Templeton / xi

On Helping Others: In Truth, Giving Is Receiving

Kacey Mason, Winchester, TN / 3

On Optimism: Standing High on the Peaks of Life
Arjay Velasco, Bronx, NY / 6

On Love: Sometimes to Love Means to Sacrifice
Leah Webber, Crestline, OH / 8

On Forgiving Others: Nothing Should Keep Us from Forgiving Each Other
Ashlee Cook, Cleveland, TN / 10

On Honesty: Is Honesty Still the Best Policy?
Peter Blair, Nassau, Bahamas/ 14

On Courage: Let Me Show Courage in Everything I Do
Andrew Gilman, Troy, NC / 18

On Helping Others: Learning to Give
Claire Nettles, Clinton, MS / 21

On Honesty and Respect: Teaching the Values that Matter Most
Kwonneung (Stephen) Kim, Brooklyn, NY / 24

On Living by Your Values: The Laws of Life Will Guide You Through the Roughest Times
Ashley Cowan, Lima, OH / 27

On Kindness and Believing in Yourself: To Thine Own Self Be True
William Barrie, Fairfield, CT / 30

On Respect: What I Learned from Carl
Nick Maney, West Palm Beach, FL / 32

On Redemption: The Epiphany
Arliss Feathergill, Winona, MN / 35

On Integrity: Keeping Your Word
Peter MacLean, Port Glasgow, UK / 39

On Living Life to the Fullest: Last Day
Denise Signorelli, Plymouth, MN / 42

On Family, Honesty, and Believing in Yourself: What I Learned from My Family
Tamara George, Alvin, TX / 45

On Kindness: Go Out and Do Something Kind Today
Joanisa Tenreiro, Naples, FL / 47

On Having Faith: We Are Here by Grace
Andrew Wasuwongse, Media, PA / 49

On Family: Don’t Take a Loved One for Granted
Chelsea Rose, Bryn Athyn, PA / 53

On Optimism: Positive Thinking Is Contagious
Julie Johnston, Kingwood, TX / 56

On Not Judging Others: Look with Your Heart, Not with Your Eyes
Melissa Jackson, Rawlins, WY / 58

On Integrity: We Must Strive to Live with Integrity
Emily Garrett, Sanford, NC / 63

On Kindness: The Simple Hand That I Have to Offer
Mollie Barnes, Spirit Lake, IA / 67

On Helping Others: Learning a Valuable Lesson
Laia Mitchell, Tallahassee, FL / 70

On Optimism: The Only Person in Charge of My Attitude Is Me
Angela Ross, Philadelphia, PA / 72

On Believing in Yourself: When You Look in the Mirror, Do You Like What You See?
Elizabeth Cherry, Hickory, NC / 75

On The Importance of Learning, Faith, and Family: Reaching My Goals
Anitra Raiford, Gainesville, FL / 78

On Helping Others: I Can’t Forget and I Won’t Ignore
Tara Coughlin, Philadelphia, PA / 80

On Optimism: Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative!
D. Michael Reynolds, Jr., North Little Rock, AR / 83

On Love: Don’t Let the Chain of Love End with You
Alexandra Silverman, Clayton, MO / 85

On Love: Gone, Yet Not Forgotten
Melissa Young, Acton, Ontario, Canada / 88

On Compassion and the Pursuit of Excellence: Having a Set of Rules to Live by Is a Great Tool for Success
Sherrie Crouch, Kingston Springs, TN / 90

On Honesty: Honesty Will Help Me Achieve My Goals
Paulina Klinkosz, Mayfield Heights, OH / 93

On Love, Justice, and Compassion: Principles for True Freedom
Suzanne Schumann, Hixson, TN / 95

On Compassion: Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged
Amanda Edwards, Cincinnati, OH/ 97

On Trying Your Hardest: Success Is a Journey, Not a Destination
Tyler Brinkmann, Carlyle, IL / 100

On Living Life to the Fullest: Enjoy Every Second
Wu Meng (Wendy Wu), Beijing, China / 102

On Having Faith and Living Life Simply: Life’s Precious Gifts
Genevieve Owusu Ansah, Kumasi, Ghana / 105

On the Importance of Learning: Half Knowledge Is a Dangerous Thing
V. Ganesh, Chennai, India / 107

On Believing in Yourself: The Perfect Life
Anne Saab, Beirut, Lebanon / 109

On Happiness: Life Has So Many Wonderful Things to Offer
Elisha Reid, Victoria, Australia / 111

On Living Life to the Fullest: Don’t Toy with Time
Lisa Jennings, Delta Junction, AK / 113

On Living by Your Values: The Laws of Life Will Continue to Influence My Life
Vassily Polyvianny, Ivanovo, Russian Federation / 116

On Courage: Overcoming Fear
Amy Schnelle, Medford, WI / 119

On Perseverance: The Greatest Law of Life
Jesse Gordon, Denham Springs, LA / 122

On Kindness: Say a Kind Word to Someone Else at Least Once a Day
Lindi Davis, Napa, CA / 125

On Optimism and Living Life to the Fullest: If Nothing Else, These Will Build Character
Katharine Boicourt, Trappe, MD / 127

On Helping Others, Passion, and Integrity: Eight Birds, Two Mountains, and One Big Yellow Chevy Malibu
Lindsay Braman, Point Lookout, MO / 130

On Love: Nurturing Love in a Flower Pot
Neil Diaz, Huntington Park, CA / 135

On Helping Others: Everyone Can Make a Difference
Jessica Atwell, Encinitas, CA/ 138

On Family: A Kind and Loving Family
Alexander Sorenson, Altadena, CA / 141

On Having Faith: Nothing Great Was Ever Achieved Without Faith
Desiree Eroy-Reveles, Oceanside, CA / 144

On Courage: The Essential Life Quality
Monique Jones, Oceanside, CA / 146

On Living Life to the Fullest: My Turning Point
Nadine Bastiampillai, Toronto, Ontario, Canada / 148

On Respect: Respecting Other People Can Make a Difference
Malieka Overton, Albion, PA / 151

On Living by Your Values: The Train to Attain Character
Kati Lestmann, Dayton, TN / 153

On Love: The Power of Love
Gloria Kung, Kennesaw, GA / 156

On Living Life Simply: I Experienced Giving with the Hands of God
Victoria Kintner, Shreveport, LA / 159

On Perseverance: What I Learned from My Grandmother
Anna Kopel, North Mankato, MN / 162

On Patience: Getting Past the Potholes of Life
Kevin Holloway, St. Louis, MO / 165

On Living by Your Values: A Recipe for Character
Margaret Therese (Terry) Bruns, Greensboro, NC / 168

On Compassion: Taking the Time to Smile
Nicole Kuncl, Jenson Beach, FL / 171

On Living Life to the Fullest: The Most Important Part of Life Is Life Itself
Lisa Avery, Omaha, NE / 174


Listing of Contest Locations / 179
Listing of Contest Sponsors / 180
Listing of Essay Themes / 185

About Sir John Templeton / 189

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