First let’s set the context
Take a moment….
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.