The Best I Can Do

Karen - Holton, Kansas
Entered on March 8, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65
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The Best I Can Do

“Is that the best you can do?” I remember my father saying to me, peering over his reading glasses with his intense brown eyes.

Depending on the situation, my response would either be a resounding “Yes,” or the dreaded “No” repeated in a quavering voice.

Although my father died some time ago, his words still ring true to me and have guided my life for the past forty-five years, at least.

I believe in the importance of doing the best I can, no matter what the situation.

When I first became a high-school teacher, I was hired to teach freshman English for which I was well-trained and student publications, a field in which I was a complete novice. Doing the best I could meant learning everything I could about photography and writing – then practicing what I had learned.

The first time I attempted to develop film in the darkroom was quite an experience. In blackness so complete I could not see my hands in front of my face, I carefully cracked open the film canister and rolled it on the slippery reel. All was going well, until the unthinkable happened – the reel slid through my hands and bounced to the floor below. I spent another half hour in utter blackness on my hands and knees attempting to retrieve that reel on the dusty floor of that small darkroom behind the stage. Remarkably, I found it under the table and completed the task. Throughout the whole ordeal, I thought of giving up – except I was not going to settle for less than “the best I could do.”

Now, twenty-seven years later, as a certified journalism teacher with an endorsement in journalism completed and former students who have become journalists, themselves, I can honestly say, I have done and will continue to do the “best I can do.”

I believe in doing the best I can, regardless of the point where I begin.