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September 08, 2015
According to Hoole
There It Was in the Newspaper for Everyone to Read
by Daryl Hoole

Much to my chagrin, there it was in the newspaper for everyone to read: “The eldest daughter, Daryl, is a conscientious student at Irving Junior High School.” It was bad enough to be conscientious, why did the fact have to be published?

The year was 1947, I was thirteen years old, and for some reason our family had been interviewed by a newspaper reporter and that line left me feeling crushed. When you’re an insecure, awkward junior high student, such a label seemed to be the kiss of death.

Why couldn’t the article have said I was “cute,” or “popular,” or “talented”? I’m sure it’s because I wasn’t. But couldn’t they have come up with something besides that dismal designation!

Such an identity troubled me for months, but time and maturity can do wonders to heal bruised feelings and put things in perspective.

Eventually I had the courage to look the word up in the dictionary to see exactly what was so upsetting to me, and there I read that to be conscientious means “to be careful to do what one knows is right; to be controlled by conscience; to do things with care and make them right; to be upright, honorable, righteous, honest, and exact; to live in accordance to one’s sense of duty.”

That isn’t so bad. I’ve come to respect and appreciate the attribute of being conscientious in others. And I’ve accepted it for myself — just as long as it’s not the only trait for which I’m known.

This brings to mind a wall hanging at a cousin’s house that reads: “I know I’m efficient — tell me I’m beautiful.”

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