Saturday, December 22, 2007

Doing the Best You Can With What You Have

Some people spend their time complaining about their lot in life and looking for someone else to solve their problems for them. Others look within themselves. One of the lessons life seems to have taught me is that when we do the best we can with what we have, the result is usually remarkably good. Of course, all too many people are all too quick to put a label of their "best" on an effort that is far from it.

While I had planned to write about this subject anyway, I read something earlier in the week which explains my point far more clearly that I ever could. Click here to read an account of how the students, parents, and faculty at Oklahoma City's Westwood Elementary School came together during a snow storm that Oklahoma rarely sees to display a spirit that I wish we could spread to every school in America. Once known for low student achievement, this school turned around in a very short time despite the incredibly high percentage of students coming from Spanish-speaking homes.

The story talks about their fund-raising project--coming together to make tamales to raise funds for a marquee. Despite a language barrier, they found joy through the universal language of music and demonstrate an understanding of each other which transcends the spoken word.

Perhaps the story of how this school coped with Mother Nature may be a clue as to how they approach the other challenges they face--looking at what they can control, working together, and enjoying the ride. Jan, thanks for using the story of a snowstorm in Oklahoma to spread sunshine all the way to Alabama.

When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or the life of another.
-Helen Keller

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