Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.

William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

…And some have it encouraged in them by others.

Steve Ogden

I was a terrible student. Didn’t apply myself.

I got this one test back in Chemistry (on which I had earned a D+) and scribbled in the margin was “I see greatness for you.” Initially, I assumed the teacher was mocking me. I asked her about it.

She said no, her mother had helped her grade the papers, and it was her mother who had written that.

“I dunno. She just gets feelings about people,” my teacher said. “She’s weird like that.”

But those words lifted me up during the darkest days of a misfit’s High School career. Greatness! She saw GREATNESS… for me? I clung to hope that one day I’d be better than who I was. And so I did learn to apply myself eventually. I became… well, if not exactly GREAT, at least more like she saw me. So often kids will rise to the level of your expectations.

It has occurred to me over time that the teacher’s mother had not, in fact, seen greatness or anything else for me, but had probably just scribbled some encouragement in the margins of a D+ paper precisely to lift up a weird kid.

Well, it worked.

I’ve never forgotten that. I’ve also never forgotten that it costs nothing to encourage someone who may need it now and again.

Be kind to each other out there. It’s a tough room.

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