Words of inspiration are good for everyone

Garrett Rogowki
Superintendent of the Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District.

As we embark on this new year, hopefully this finds you all having success sticking to your 2020 resolutions. As I think about our students and our role in helping them achieve all that they aspire for, a common phrase we often use comes to mind, “Do your best.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.”
Similarly, one of my favorite quotes comes from Steve Prefontaine, “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”

Do your best. We say it often. We promise to do it often, but through all my experiences in all my 43 years, I often wonder just how common it is that we actually do the best we can. I gave everything I had in studying for that exam. I sprinted as hard as I could every time I ran down that floor. I exercised patience and kindness with difficult people in difficult situations.

These and a myriad of other “I’m doing my best” statements are made by all of us, but in the end, I think this poem by Peter Dale Wimbrow Sr. says it best:

When you get what you want in your struggle for self,
And the world makes you king for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what the man has to say.
For it isn’t a man’s father, mother or wife,
Whose judgment upon him must pass,
The fellow whose verdict counts most in life,
Is the man staring back from the glass.
He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest,
For he’s with you clear to the end,
And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test,
If the man in the glass is your friend.
You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But the final reward will be heartache and tears,
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

When we do our best, when we use the gifts we’ve been blessed with to the best of our ability, I truly believe that our efforts result in attainment and satisfaction that no one can take from us. Prefontaine and Emerson are right. We all have gifts. It’s our job to make the most of them.

Wishing you a great start to the new year, success in 2020 and happiness in your journey.