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Through the Education Lens

John Green's "Brilliant" Commencement Speech: The True Hero's Errand

CJ Westerberg, June 17, 2013 3:49 PM

stars.fault.john-green.jpg


" . . . for in learning how to be a nobody,
you'll be learning how not to be a jerk
and for the rest of your life . . . 
you will empathize,
you'll be a mentor and be a generous one . . "
-John Green, Butler University commencement speech 2013

The true hero's errand: 
The journey from strength to weakness


DSC_0163-1_2.jpgby C.J. Westerberg

I officially admit that I have a brain crush on John Green.
 
It started when the teen daughter insisted I read Green's NYTimes best-selling book, The Fault in Our Stars, and finally succumbed to her increasingly persistent pleas (I know . . . interesting dynamic). I stayed up most of the night reading it, obsessing about it the next morning, finishing it that same day. 

She and I re-read parts together, talked about what Augustus was thinking and why Hazel did what she did, where we laughed . . . or cried (some surprises here), "when" we guessed the ending.  Months later, we still refer to the characters or themes of the book.

"I would just note that the default assumption
is that the point of human life is to be as successful as possible, to acquire lots of fame or glory or money as defined by quantifiable metrics: number of twitter followers, or facebook friends, or dollars in one's 401k."
 

Ironically, in addition to his books (Fault in our Stars now in the works for a movie, of course), Green and his brother Hank have a quirky learning vlog which is wracking up some big numbers in the 300 million view range. 

After viewing Green's commencement address to Butler college graduates, I rushed to share it with the daughter, who of course, had already seen it and called it "brilliant".   It's very John Green - funny, sad, poignant.
 
I think my crush has gotten worse.

12 Minute Video Below (first three minutes are his introduction)
transcript here
  

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