The Greatest Lie Ever Told

Another leader I admire is Wendy Kopp, who was interviewed at the Summit. She founded Teach for America when she was 21 years old. She is proof positive of what I call The Greatest Lie Ever Told.

What is this Lie? It’s a two-fold deception:

First part – that young people are supposed to party hardy and be self-absorbed. This presupposes that they are children with grown-up bodies who can’t think beyond next weekend.
Second part – that if you challenge them to serve a purpose greater than themselves, an urgent cause which requires self-sacrifice, they won’t rise to the occasion.

I strongly disagree with the entire premise. History is replete with examples of young people discovering courage and possibilities they did not know lay dormant within them, often leading people much older than themselves, and rising to greatness.

Here is a brief excerpt from the history of Teach for America:

As a 21 year-old, Kopp raised $2.5 million of start-up funding, hired a skeleton staff, and launched a grass-roots recruitment campaign. During Teach For America’s first year in 1990, 500 men and women began teaching in six low-income communities across the country. Since then, Teach For America’s network has grown to 20,000 individuals.

Think About It!

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