This I Believe

Christiane - Pearl River, New York
Entered on April 7, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in never settling for doing less than the best of your ability.

All my life I have had my family surrounding me with support in everything that I do. One of my biggest supporters was my great uncle, Jim. When I was younger, I did Irish dancing and played a lot of sports such as basketball, soccer, and softball. Jim loved to come to all of my games and Irish dancing competitions. Whenever I was nervous, Jim always made me feel better and confident in myself.

Jim died three years ago from cancer. It was hard losing somebody that I was so close to, but my mom told me to always remember the good times I had with him. I will always remember that he expected me to try my best no matter what. If I lost a game, he would cheer me up and tell me that I should never be upset as long as I know that I tried my hardest.

At one of my Irish dancing competitions, I was so nervous. I didn’t feel that I was prepared to perform, yet my teacher still made me sign up to dance anyway. I was up next and I started to panic. I was ready to cry and I think Jim saw that emotion in my face. He walked over to me, saying, “You’ll always be the best in my eyes, I have seen you practice over and over again and I know just how talented you really are. Now I want you to go out there and dance the best that you possibly can.” That is what I did.

Jim definitely believed in what he told me because he also tried his best to fight the cancer and live as long as he possibly could for the people that he loved. I could see in his last few days, that Jim was very sick. I knew that he was in pain. I was scared to see that because I knew that for somebody as strong as Jim to show vulnerability meant that his best wasn’t good enough. When he died, I realized that even though he couldn’t beat the cancer, he still tried his best, which was why he lived as long as he did. If Jim had just given up, he wouldn’t have been alive to say goodbye to our family.

Besides Jim’s soft and kind face, I will always remember Jim as being one of my biggest supporters, always encouraging me to do my best. Jim’s advice helped me through a lot of little things like games and competitions, but his advice is something that I will always remember. I hope that it will some day help me in a more serious situation.