One of My Greatest Life Lessons

“You’re doing the best you can for now.”  After more than 35 years, I still hear the gentleness of his voice and see the kindness in his eyes when he spoke those words to me.  I was a Spanish teacher in a specialized training school, and he was my supervisor.  I had arrived late for work and I was embarrassed.  My mind was overwhelmed with my college class schedule, personal concerns, and a nagging fatigue that wouldn’t go away. I told him I knew I wasn’t doing my best as I apologized for my lateness and rather than criticize me, he showed me kindness and grace. “You’re doing the best you can for now.”   

I watched him after that and came to see that he was simply a kind man. He spoke to others with respect and encouraged us all to be kind to others.  I will be forever grateful for his example of how we help another person with our words.  It wouldn’t be until several months later that I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. It explained the fatigue and much of the reason I felt overwhelmed, but he didn’t know that.  

Throughout the years, I have tried to show the same understanding to those I work with, to my family, and especially to my children in their times of stress and self-doubt. When appropriate, I share my own story of the man who saw me, the whole me, and in just a few seconds taught me one of my greatest life lessons – kindness can be shown in just a few words.  

Cathy C

GEAR UP High School Counselor