The Boy Scout Oath.
On My Honor, I Will Do My Best
By Richard Mabey Jr.
Today, I took a long, hard look in the mirror. I honestly asked myself, “what have I done with my life?” I’m serious. At 63, I reflect on this a lot, “what have I done with my life?”
In September of 1970, in my senior year of high school, I got a D on my first chemistry test. I showed it to my Dad. He was upset. Dad said to me something like this, “Richard, I don’t care if you get a D, if you’re doing your very best. Now look me in the eye. Tell me, are you doing your best?”
I realized that I wasn’t doing my best. I had just bought my 1961 Ford Falcon. I was distracted spending my weekends going out with my new girlfriend, Penny. Dad knew I wasn’t doing my best.
I remember Dad looked back at that chemistry test and simply said to me, “look son, you’re going to have study more. It’s just that simple, you’re going to have to study more.”
And, study more I did. I had a serious talk with Penny on the phone. I told her that I could only go out with her on Saturday nights. I told her that we couldn’t go hiking in the park on Sunday afternoons any more. When I got home from school, every day, I focused on my chemistry homework. I found the chemistry problems tough, but I just stuck with them.
In my opinion, I didn’t have a really good chemistry teacher. I tried pointing that out to Dad. But he would come back to me with the basics.
“Richard, I don’t care if you have the worst teacher in the world! All I’m asking you is this, are you doing your best?”
The Boy Scout Oath begins with these words, “On my honor, I will do my best…” It doesn’t read, “On my honor, I will give it a try…” Nor does it say, “On my honor, I’ll somewhat try…” The Boy Scout Oath is very clear, “On my honor, I will do my best….”
When I was 17, I tried to blame my chemistry teacher for getting a D on that first chemistry test. No, my chemistry teacher was not presented the “Teacher of the Year” award. Far from it. But the real truth of the matter is that I needed to study my chemistry more. That was it. I needed to study harder.
All day long today, I kept hearing the whisper of my father saying to me, “Richard, are you really doing your best?” And, I would blame the way that the book publishing game works in this modern world. I would blame age prejudice. But all day long, I heard the whisper of my father saying, “Richard, are you really doing your best?”
So dear and precious to my heart, my manuscript of “I Remember Dad.”
I’m 63. I’m not all that healthy. And I have a job to do, to get my book published. I had lost the flame in my heart. I was copping out, blaming circumstances, blaming the new trends in the publishing companies, telling myself that it’s too expensive to have a book self published. But it kept coming down to this. I kept hearing my father’s voice, asking me, “Richard, are you really doing your best?”
The first two pages of my book, “I Remember Dad.”
And, I realize that I’ve got to work that much harder. I’ve got of focus more. I’ve got to get rid of the distractions in my life. I’ve got to spend less time watching TV. I’ve got to spend less time listening to the radio. I’ve got to spend less time talking to neighbors. There are three things I need to do more of: write, write and write.
And now my friends, I leave you on this note, are you really doing your best? Please, be honest. Are you really doing your best, in working to see your dream come true? Are you really doing your best?