“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.
GEAR UP High School Counselor