Doing the best we can

Published 9:40 pm Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By QuaWanna Bannarbie

Fred Rogers, who is known to most of us as Mister Rogers, has a quote that comes to mind as we face these unprecedented perils of today.

He said, “Some days, doing ‘the best we can’ may still fall short of what we would like to be able to do, but life isn’t perfect on any front — and doing what we can with what we have is the most we should expect of ourselves or anyone else.”

Email newsletter signup

I was a young child growing up in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and I watched “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” daily. I don’t remember this exact quote, but I do remember that he often encouraged us to do the best that we can during many of his episodes.

If I were able to fully monitor news coverage, social media, scholarly articles, gossip and other content regarding the prevention of the spread of the coronavirus, I could give you accurate statistics of how often I have heard these words “the best that we can.” Without those data points, I can only estimate that we have heard these words “ the best we can” many times since March 13, when President Trump announced that the spread of coronavirus is a national emergency. I suspect as long as the timeline of this pandemic continues forward, we will continue to hear some form of instructions that require that we “do the best we can.”

What is best? I don’t know the answer to that question. I believe it is during times like these that we find out what is truly best.

It is a serious time. Coronavirus is serious. I really did not want to address the pandemic in this week’s column. The newsfeed and the comment reels surrounding all of this are borderline overwhelming. While I appreciate all of the information, the flood of precautionary promotion and propaganda is very grim after you read enough of it in one sitting. I am doing my best to remain positive. I am sure that you are also.

I am thankful that I have some positive reminders in the Suffolk community of what is best. I’m positive that the Food and Nutrition Department of Suffolk Public Schools is doing its best to distribute food to students while they are out of school, because the reality is that school meals feed many of our children daily. I’m positive that we need to pray for sustainability through this pandemic for Suffolk small business owners, such as Pamela Miller at the Embroidery & Print House and Vanessa Boone of Simply Paint It. Small business is the engine of job creation in the United States, and that includes Suffolk. Please pray for our small businesses.

I am thankful that the Suffolk Parks and Recreation Department is pulling out all of the stops to keep our residents healthy and active by offering their first virtual fitness classes via Facebook Live. While it is a huge adjustment to have my children home each day because the schools are closed, I applaud Suffolk teachers and administrators for doing the best you can to equip your parents. Hillpoint Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Shante Lyttle has sent her parents a stream of Remind messages every morning to encourage us that we can do this together. I am having a bit of fun playing school with my children every day. Who knows how long I will be able to keep this up. But for now, I am doing the best that I can. And while I am unable to fellowship with my sisters and brothers in Christ in a physical house of God, I am thankful for the reminder that the church lives in me and this is my opportunity to be the church that the world needs to see.

The current state of this world offers all of us the opportunity to flex our muscles of empathy. Mister Rogers would want us to suppress our negative judgment of the decisions of others and to have concern for our neighbors. He always spoke of our choices. Right now it is important for us to choose empathy and constructive assessment so that we can all arrive at the best outcome of all — we did our best.


QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of Nonprofit Leadership and Management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via @QNikki_Notes or