Promise, Potential, Achievement

Promise, Potential, Achievement

First let’s set the context

Take a moment….

Watch Hank Green – The Myth of Greatness and John Green – Deserving

If you have time read John Green: Teenager, Aged 36 to give some perspective to what you just watched.  It’s a bit long, it begins as a book review but then goes back to the history of John and Hank and how they got to where they are now. It is a story of hard work, persistence, hope and community.


It takes an attitude of optimism to see the promise and potential in people.  It sometimes takes a lot of hard work to believe the student or colleague you work with can improve let alone achieve great things. I must remind myself that each person has unique gifts, talents and purpose. I may not know what those will be nor when they might be revealed but I shall do my best to help them on their way.

I think of the labels that were applied to Hank and John (John Green: Teenage, Age 36). The labels we place on our students, I still feel sting of the labels placed on me while in school. To this day they effect my confidence.  It is the main reason I became an educator to help people see beyond the labels and limits, to see things not yet imagined.

Both John and Hank had difficult days in school and continue to have some difficult days as adults.  Life is not perfect and EVERYONE has some obstacle or another in their path.  And they should be view as obstacles, NOT limits or barriers. They shape us.  Obstacles and talents are what give us the differences we desperately need.  It is in our differences that we find creative solutions to solve problems. It is in sharing our passions that we will find connections with others.

John and Hank did just that – they took a new tool (youtube – Vlogbrothers) and built a community.  This lead to other opportunities to share, collaborate, create and celebrate the promise, potential and talents of others. This has inspired many to do the same. They are entrepreneurs, fundraises for charity and educators. They have encouraged others to be proud of who they are and what makes them different.

Hank in Myth of Greatness mentions Florence as a seat of long remembered talent.   But greatness, people doing remarkable work, is everywhere.  The Florence of the Green brother’s is the internet. We often look far a field to find examples of excellence following the adage the “grass is always greener….”.  If you look closer to home you are likely to find it there as well.

John speaks of not being deserving of the success of the movie The Fault in Our Stars.  He speaks about being fortunate, lucky about all the right pieces falling to place for him.  Yes there is some luck but he still worked hard to get himself in a position were he could benefit with the good fortune that came his way. He worked on that book for many years, he wrote and re-wrote and stuck too it, he did not give up. He followed his passions, he persisted. He did not expect it to be handed to him, he needed to work for it.

Too often I hear students say they deserve a good grade or deserve to get accepted to a certain college.  You won’t get either if you did not put in the hard work and effort required, and you may not be fortunate enough to have all the pieces fall into place to fulfill you dream.

We all have promise, potential and talents.  If we work at them, share them, we will learn, grow and achieve.  And with a little good fortune even achieve beyond our wildest dreams.


Here is a smattering of the many things they have accomplished.

John’s Books: The Fault in Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns and Will Grayson Will Grayson.

Hank’s Media Projects: VidConDFTBA  Records , Pemberley Digital

4 thoughts on “Promise, Potential, Achievement

  1. Hello Mrs. Knittle, I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I really enjoyed reading your post. I love and totally believe this quote from your post “It takes an attitude of optimism to see the promise and potential in people”. I am a future teacher and I believe that all teachers should live by this. I am new to blogging visit my page Aneshia

  2. Aneshia,

    I just took a look at your blog and it appears you are well on your way to developing a good PLN and becoming a reflective practitioner of the art of teaching. I wish you well as you embark on your new career.

  3. Hi Beth,

    How do you go about pushing your students to shine in a way of speaking? Its hard where I teach at Park University most of my students are veterans that just came back from the war. Some have PTSD or have other medical issues associated in being in the military. Park University is located on a military base Hill Air Force Base located in Ogden Utah. Do you have any suggestions on how I could reach my students in making them shine and succeed and look past there medical issues?

    Thanks Dayna

  4. Hi Dayna,

    I usually try to reply to all those who take the time to read and comment on my blog. However the last 6 months I have been dealing with some medical issues. I am fine, it has just taken away the time and the energy I had for blogging and commenting. I am nearing the end of this little hiccup in my life and hopefully I will be blogging and replying at my usual frequency so please forgive the lack of a thoughtful reply and thank you for your support.

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