“Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” I’m sure you’ve heard this quote before. It’s meant to disparage teachers. As someone whose wife is a teacher–and as someone who almost became a teacher himself–I’ve always found it absurd. Don’t get me wrong; I had plenty of lousy teachers when I was growing up who probably lived up to this quote. But I’ve known way more accomplished people who could do or had done but chose to teach instead.

My wife could have gone to graduate school, continued to research the U.S. Civil War, and written profitable books. I’m certain. She’s a great writer and savvy at finding timeless, deeply-human stories buried in primary sources. Instead, she chose to share her passion for U.S. history with 120+ 6th graders every year. When I was in graduate school studying Public Administration, my best professors were ones who had worked as civil servants for years. They could have continued to work–or retired–but instead chose to help others enter their profession. Their real-world lessons were invaluable–and impossible to fake.

On the other hand, I’ve known many accomplished people who could never, ever explain to others how to repeat their success. That’s why as I sit here this morning, I’m afraid a more compelling version of this quote is: “Those who can, do; those who can, can’t necessarily teach.”

I’ve been working for my parents part time since last January. Next week, I’m leaving my government job to come work for them full time. We’re still figuring out how I can help around here, but one thing I want to focus on is expanding Holly Chapple Flowers’ educational offerings. In my short time with the business, I’ve recognized that my parents and their team have so much more to offer to current and would-be florists. And everyone at HCF wants to do more, and for more people.

But can we do it? If a bride wants to double the size of her flower order, Holly Chapple Flowers knows exactly what to do: how many more stems we need to buy, how many more designers we need to bring in, how many more delivery vans we need to rent, etc. But we’ve never scaled up our school before.

Don’t get me wrong: My mom has had a lot of success teaching already–both in-person and online, both domestically and abroad. And we have had incredible feedback over the years on our in-person workshops and our online training, especially our comprehensive business and design course for wedding florists.

But if we’re going to teach more, we have so much to learn about technology, curriculum planning, documentation, addressing the individual needs of each student, etc. It’s a complicated, multi-faceted process. A highly skilled task. I’m confident we can figure out how to do it. My mom says we have to because she recognizes there’s gaps in what floristry students are learning, essential lessons–not only about flowers, but also about living happy and balanced lives.

But trust me, in the process, we’ll prove that stupid quote in my title wrong. Holly Chapple Flowers is going to continue to design for weddings and events–although fewer–because we can do and teach and because we know it will give us more of the practical knowledge that makes our education so valuable for all of you.

I’m excited about how you will grow as a florist, while we grow as teachers. Class begins!

With hope,


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