You Want to Know About Potential? Ask a Parent


When I was in grade four and five my mother was an ever-present parent at the school. She was always meeting with the principal and teachers. During one of these meetings, the principal said ‘Your son won’t graduate from high school.’

My mom wasn’t going to accept this, so she kept showing up and making noise. She made sure a tutor and extra help were available for me. After two years the school hadn’t made any improvements, and there weren’t any other options.

Reading Class Sucks

One day during our reading time I skimmed through my book, looking at the pictures that were in it. I couldn’t read nor spell, but the school didn’t seem to care as they kept pushing me through the grades.

Through a connection at work, my mom heard about a school that focused on students like me. They had specialized programs and teachers experienced in dealing with students like me.

Through lots of compromise and lost opportunities, she found the money to pay the tuition. It was a burden, as she drove me to school every morning and picked me up every day.

Different Schools

The classes were small, and for the two years, I was there I never had more than five classmates. The teachers had time to focus on me, with a program built around my needs. This focus made a world of difference.

It’s amazing how much one can learn under the right circumstances. In the two years at the private school, I caught up on more than seven years of public education. At this point, I was ready for high school.

My first year was challenging, it took awhile to get used to the new teaching methods and classmates. Even here, my mom went to the school to make sure my teachers were doing their jobs. She ensured that the school was providing me with the resources I needed.

By the time I was in OAC (grade 13) I was getting straight A’s. Even in English which had been the bane of my education in the past. Like my many of my friends, I applied to University and got letters of acceptance from them all.

Two Opinions

For this story, it might be clear there were two very different ideas about my potential. The principal, who told my mother I wouldn’t graduate high school. The other, my mother who believed, pushed and compromised.

The expert was wrong, and in fact, he was way off. He figured he knew what was possible based on his experience. My mother believed but didn’t have any experience. She resolved to do what was necessary to make me succeed.

Everyone has a different view on their potential and the potential of others. But when it comes down to it, sometimes it’s a matter of definition while other times it is a matter of faith. Don’t let the past define the future and don’t let experience cloud dreams. No matter how things are, they can always change for the better.

Learn more about my book How To Be Amazing! A Manifesto