This I Believe

Keith - Powhatan, Virginia
Entered on July 17, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in a world of perfecting

As a Principal and teacher, I work in an environment of students, teachers, and parents, where everyone strives for a taste of perfection. Everyone you say? Well perfection whether in its absolute or relative state is something I believe that is innately built into the human psyche. We all on some level want to do better, strive for better, and believe for the better. The problem is that perfecting is not linear in nature, and it’s unpredictable in its performance. For example there are some students who believe in perfecting their skills of comedy during math class. There are some teachers who will give a student an A- when the student’s performance warrants an A just to maintain an image that you can’t get a perfect score in my class. There are some parents who scream and intimidate their children to achieve perfection while ignoring the act of perfecting. I have seen parents fight coaches, and other parents at ball games, wanting so much to vicariously live out the lives of their sons and daughters in that state of nirvana absolute perfection.

However the art of perfecting is different. When I see a teacher consoling and reaching out to a distraught child regardless of whom or what they are experiencing that to me is perfecting. When a parent says stop to their busy schedule and spends time to listen, to play, to instruct, and to learn from their children that to me is perfecting. The radiant smile of a student, when it’s directed to a classmate or someone in the school that no one likes or cares for, that to me is perfecting. I believe that perfection is perfecting the act of improving, making all things better. It’s like a baby learning to walk. They stand take three steps and fall. They never say, wow! This is enough I have achieved perfection. No they get up and take four or five more steps and then an infinite amount of steps. I believe in perfecting, because perfection is the act of perfecting.