The Cub Scout motto is “Do your best.” 

I love it. 

When boys are “busy” in a pack meeting and are squirming on chairs, or rolling on the floor, I simply kneel down and whisper, “Are you doing your best?” This phrase somehow stops all shenanigans.

Do your best.

A phrase that works. We all seem to know that we should be doing our best, but until someone takes the time and attention to ask us, “Are you doing your best?” we may not make changes in our behavior.

I expect our children, citizens, businesses, school representatives and elected officials to “do their best.”

If I go to Spotless Carwash on Madison (or Roosevelt), I expect they will give me the best service they can, and they do. If I go into Smokin’ M’s, I expect they are giving me the best barbeque, and they do. When I go into McGaffer’s for pizza, I expect the best pizza, and I get it, every time. When I go to Field-Stevenson School, I expect to be greeted with a “hello,” and they do it, time and time again.

So much of living in a community is unseen. The postal worker comes when I am not at home, garbage is picked up just as I leave for work, streets are cleaned monthly, my alley is paroled while I sleep, I do not know all of the important people who make a difference in my life, but I appreciate them. When we see each other, we say, “hello.” 

As many of you know, there is more than one public figure in town who has a reputation for being hot and cold. Several of us have talked about you, and we would like you to try to do your best and say “hello” to the fellow citizens in town you know and to do it all the time. 

It’s OK, fellow citizens, to expect all the people who serve us, from the park district, from the village, from Cook County, from our schools, our community, all who know one another, to say “hello.” Just that simple. They can do it. 

 I will say “hello,” too, when I see you at the school, at Ed’s Way, at The Park, at a Chamber event, at the Little League field, at the soccer field, or shopping. Sometimes being warm and friendly and sometimes being cold and distant is not good enough, I know you can do it. 

I’m not asking you to be perfect, to have only good days, to have a conversation or be interested or engaged. I’m asking you to do your best, to say “hello” to your fellow community members.

I expect the best from my neighbors, administrators and elected officials. I expect all Forest Parkers to care about their neighborhood. 

If you want to talk, we can talk; if not, that’s OK, too. You don’t have to agree with me or like me or anyone else in the neighborhood. But do not avoid looking at your fellow citizens; it is not the best you can do.

So the next time we are sharing space, let’s do our best, and say “hello.” It’s OK.