100,000 Fully Engaged Tutors for
Voluntary Youth Associations,
And Saul said to David,
“You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him;
for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”
— 1 Samuel 17:33 (NKJV)
Many people think of today’s youth in terms of their appearance and experience rather than their potential to help make breakthroughs now. Associating wisdom with grey hair and grizzled faces, some may discount the potential of youth to identify, to expand, and to apply wisdom. Yet in some fields, many of the highest performers are in their teens. Women’s gymnastics is a good example.
How does that happen? Youth provides courage, desire to succeed, energy, enthusiasm, and flexibility; and adult coaches (many of whom were once young gymnasts) provide the experience and perspective that allow the youth to focus on wiser choices.
A similar collaboration among generations works well for music. A violinist, a singer, or a composer may be producing world-class work at quite a young age due in part to receiving lessons from more experienced professionals and teachers.
In mathematics, the seeds of breakthroughs may be sown when teenagers are encouraged by their elders to work on advanced questions and challenges that the teens’ natural abilities and interests will eventually enable them to master. Emerging fields of science are often pushed forward by youthful questions and insights that challenge incorrect theories and inadequate research.
Yet we seek to protect most of our precocious young from being pushed along too fast into productivity by encouraging young people to experience more balanced personal developments. There’s good sense in that approach. Clearly, it’s more important that youngsters serve God’s plans with a joyful heart rather than earn Nobel Prizes at a younger age, should Earthly accomplishments mean turning away from being saved and serving the Lord in the process.
As Chapter Five asserts, almost all young people have the potential to contribute in some ways to identifying and to implementing world-class exponential improvements. Opening the door to this opportunity presents a challenge if we are to avoid the many undesirable ways of developing their latent talent, especially methods that might lead to being drawn away from God and into distractions such as pride, self-absorption, and self-indulgence.
At the same time, taking on world-class challenges can help satisfy the common desire to prove oneself in the adult realm that leads many young people into experimenting with lifestyles and activities that can do them harm. On balance, I think it will be helpful to make more opportunities available for young people to assist in making breakthroughs. Unlike fields where performance fades after youth, developing exponential improvements can be a lifetime activity, one where ability and accomplishment improve with experience. If young people appreciate that their gifts for doing this work come from God, work on breakthroughs can bring them closer to the Lord.
I believe that voluntary associations of youth can be critical bridges for permitting more youngsters to stretch their minds, muscles (as David did in bravely facing, knocking down, and slaying Goliath), and sense of what’s possible to safely achieve in adult activities while becoming spiritually stronger. Carol Coles and I wrote about one such example in the Epilogue to The Ultimate Competitive Advantage, describing the adult-like roles that some high school students play in delivering emergency medical services in Darien, Connecticut, through Post 53.
Sixty teens, ages fourteen through eighteen (fifteen from each high school graduating class) and twenty-five adults operate the service, responding to 1,100 emergency calls a year along with the town’s police and Stamford Paramedics. Some problems the teens face are potentially life threatening, such as heart attacks and strokes … and horrific accidents on I-95. The Post’s adults carry the day load during the school year, and the teens make up for that the rest of the time. The adults start IVs and provide advanced resuscitation. The teens do everything else. At night, teens who live far from the Post sleep there, when they’re not out answering a call or working on their homework.
If Post 53 added to its emergency services opportunities to work on developing 2,000 percent solutions to improve the Post’s services, the teens could gain much more benefit while enormously enhancing the value of the volunteer services the Post provides. Some of the youngsters who become physicians and nurses would undertake their professional studies and work with minds well prepared to probe for what could be greatly improved, and they might well contribute to making important breakthroughs in mainstream emergency and medical practices early in their careers.
If a team of tutors studied Post 53 and developed instructions for how first responders and parents in other villages, towns, and cities can establish and develop similar emergency medical services that engage teenaged volunteers, this remarkable low-cost opportunity for improving community services could become widely available to high school students. Through providing volunteer emergency services based on breakthroughs developed in part by the teens in each organization, knowledge of how to make exponential improvements in important activities would also spread. Can anyone doubt that such enhanced opportunities would be good for everyone?
Unlike earlier chapters where I focus on an overall type of opportunity for tutors to serve in helping others learn how to develop exponential improvements, in this chapter I look instead at just a few specific opportunities for tutors to potentially serve widely available youth associations in adding opportunities to learn about how to make breakthroughs. In doing so, part of my purpose is to make it easier for those who are already involved with the associations to understand what the opportunities might be in order to help them attract the attention of others in their organizations. Another part of my purpose is to provide more specific examples for those involved in still other youth organizations, hoping that at least one of the examples I describe is somewhat similar to each of the organizations that I don’t discuss. Finally, I intend to help exponential-improvement tutors who are less familiar with youth associations to have a better sense of how to assist various organizations.
There’s no doubt in my mind that youth associations and their young participants should be making the final decisions about whether each one wants to develop skill in making breakthroughs, what exponential improvements to work on, and how the improvements should relate to what is done now. As a result, I’m hopeful that tutors will come from among those who have worked in volunteer and staff roles for each youth organization. If not enough tutors can be found in that way, I suggest that those who want to serve as tutors for a youth association work first as volunteers for two years before beginning to help the association’s youngsters to make exponential improvements.
If the leaders of or volunteers for any of these specific, or any other, youth organizations would like to discuss what they might do to enhance breakthrough-creating learning and experiences, I would be glad to speak with them. Feel free to contact me through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Equip Youngsters in Big Brothers Big Sisters International
with World-Improving Skills and Encouragement
“For whoever does the will of God is
My brother and My sister and mother.”
— Mark 3:35 (NKJV)
In discussing Big Brothers Big Sisters International, please be aware that I have not participated in the organization at any level. My closest experience was working as a paid mentor for a preteen boy while I was a freshman in college. As a result, I apologize in advance for any errors I make in characterizing what this organization (or any of the others described in this chapter) does now or might do.
Due to death, illness, divorce, separation, or abandonment, many young people lack a parent or older sibling of the same sex in their households who can be a positive role model and a source of encouragement. So that those who are aged five to seventeen can discuss life’s challenges with a sympathetic person, Big Brothers Big Sisters International attracts, prepares, and matches caring adult mentors with such youngsters.
Spending about an hour a week with a Big Brother or Big Sister can help a young person to make important improvements. According to independent studies reported on the organization’s Web site (http://www.bbbsi.org/) during 2010, youngsters with mentors provided by the organization were more likely to get along well with their families and to finish high school and college, and were much less likely to start drinking alcohol, to take illegal drugs, or to engage in violent acts. Isn’t that wonderful?
Over 200,000 youngsters receive this life-improving benefit each year. Even if you don’t feel called to be an exponential-improvement tutor for youngsters engaged in Big Brothers Big Sisters International, perhaps you will be attracted to volunteering as a mentor. The Web site (http://www.bbbsi.org/) explains how to explore this opportunity.
The organization’s mentors might be a little puzzled by how working on exponential improvements could become a part of this organization’s excellent program. After all, the time spent with a Little Brother or Little Sister may be only about fifty hours a year. I defer judgment about the right answers for potentially adding this opportunity to those who have served as staff members and mentors for the organization. Merely intending to encourage interested staff members’ and mentors’ thinking and discussions, I offer a few possibilities to consider and improve upon.
Let me begin by proposing two principles for providing exponential-improvement learning opportunities to Little Brothers and Little Sisters:
• Mentors and youngsters should be enthusiastic about participating in any program for making breakthroughs and voluntarily choose to become engaged.
• Some careful, small-scale tests should be conducted with enthusiastic mentors and young people to see what’s possible and appropriate before more broadly providing a program for making breakthroughs.
What’s the potential value? Some little brothers and little sisters may incorrectly believe that their futures are limited because their present circumstances are deficient in various ways. Appreciating how such beliefs can stall making valuable, easily attainable improvements can be a more important lesson for discouraged youngsters than for many other people. If a tutor develops an appealing program that helps Big Brothers and Big Sisters lead Little Brothers and Little Sisters to learn to avoid beliefs that stall improvements, more young people will improve their attitudes and the fruitfulness of their lives will increase.
Some youngsters entering such a learning program may also feel relatively powerless. In such circumstances, what could be more encouraging than for the youngster to make a valuable contribution to an exponential improvement that many people admire? Such an accomplishment can reorient the youngster’s self-image and view of the world in remarkably positive and encouraging ways.
Working on such an improvement activity can also provide an opportunity for Big Brothers and Big Sisters to become more involved with the youngsters when they aren’t physically together. While many of the youngsters may not have their own computers and cell phones, they probably have access to computers at school and at public libraries to use for working on making breakthroughs. E-mail communications can provide opportunities to provide encouragement, to share ideas, and to help. The joy of accomplishing tasks can contribute to building even stronger relationships with mentors.
An initial improvement project need not involve making some world-record-setting change: The purpose could be as simple as helping the youngster’s family to increase by twenty times how much constructive time the family’s members spend with one another. When the breakthroughs provide tangible improvements for the youngsters’ families, Little Brothers and Little Sisters can learn the value of the methods for serving others and for improving their lives. Tutors would do well to find out from as many Big Brothers and Big Sisters as possible what their Little Brothers and Little Sisters need more of and then to create programs and materials for making exponential improvements in as many of the areas as possible.
If several youngsters served by the organization are very interested in making some improvement for which more than one person’s part-time effort is required, the young people could work together as a team. If a number of students who attend the same school choose to work on the same breakthrough project, students on the team can share tasks and resources, gaining important insights into the values and joys of helping one another.
What might be the improvement goal for such a group project? Let’s say that the school the students attend doesn’t offer an after-school activity or sport that they would like to participate in. The program might aim to establish the activity or sport for at least twenty interested young people without using school funds or any paid staff time.
Naturally, there may be some youngsters who want to jump right into working on a more wide-ranging breakthrough. When the interest is present, such opportunities should be provided, as well. In these cases, it may make sense to also engage the interests of schoolmates who aren’t participating in Big Brothers Big Sisters International. In this way, the mentors’ assistance can be extended to engage more young people in a constructive activity. If the school already has a tutor who assists with such exponential-improvement projects for students, the tutor can participate in the project as well. Where a teacher in the school serves as both a tutor and as a Big Brothers Big Sisters International mentor, some pretty interesting interactions can be created for encouraging youngsters.
My thinking may be too limited in describing these opportunities. I certainly don’t want to discourage the ambitions of anyone involved with the organization. For example, the organization could probably benefit from having more mentors and financial resources. If youngsters and their mentors want to work on expanding the organization’s size and how many youngsters can be helped, I say, “Go for it.” If they want to take on even bigger challenges, I say, “May God bless their efforts.”
Let’s look next at how youth organizations that provide regular group activities in someone’s home or in public places can increase and expand the opportunities for young people to help create exponential improvements. For purposes of example, I consider the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts.
In focusing on the group learning potential of these other organizations, I don’t mean in any way to eliminate considering opportunities to work on individual breakthroughs that might be highly relevant to just one youngster’s life, or to his or her family, of the sort described concerning Big Brothers Big Sisters International.
In the interest of avoiding repetition in this chapter, please assume that any of the earlier suggestions in the chapter may also be appropriate for the organizations I discuss in the following subsections. After all, the youngsters in each organization are often about the same ages, and youthful aspirations for making improvements are usually more similar than different.
Equip Youngsters in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts
with World-Improving Skills and Encouragement
“The streets of the city
Shall be full of boys and girls
Playing in its streets.”
Shall be full of boys and girls
Playing in its streets.”
— Zechariah 8:5 (NKJV)
In discussing groups of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts who usually meet in someone’s home or in a public place, I’m aware that some local scout organizations have access to special facilities in their communities designed just for scouting activities. In my town, for instance, there’s a Scout House near the library that regularly hosts scout meetings and activities. Access to such dedicated facilities is the exception for scouts, however, and I won’t address the special opportunities related to such facilities in this subsection. If making good use of dedicated facilities is of interest, be sure to read the subsection concerning potential YMCA and YWCA opportunities for making breakthroughs.
I have neither served as an adult volunteer nor as a staff member for the Boy Scouts or the Girl Scouts. So take my suggestions with at least a grain of salt as coming from an outsider lacking a current relationship with these organizations. However, I was a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout. My older daughter was a Brownie and a Girl Scout. I was very favorably impressed during both sets of experiences by how much was learned at meetings and during activities in which every youngster participated. In a brief amount of time, a well-organized program often led my older daughter or me to gain a thorough appreciation of something that we wouldn’t have otherwise ever learned or done.
While at first I sometimes viewed the learning opportunities with skepticism, I came to look forward to them with interest. Even activities that didn’t sound very relevant (such as learning how to cook with coconut milk) turned out to help develop lifelong interests (I like the subtle flavor of coconut milk so much that I continue to seek out new recipes for using it).
The only drawback I experienced as a scout came in needing to slow down to move at the speed of the whole den or troop whenever each one of us was asked to perform the same activity. While writing this subsection, I immediately thought of how a Cub Scout den or Boy Scout troop (and Brownies and Girl Scouts, as well) might work together on an exponential-improvement project, encouraging each youngster to volunteer for different tasks that are personally most appealing and able to be completed with relative ease. In this way, youngsters will gain a stronger sense of how a group can accomplish more than an individual can by taking on different roles that build on the differences God made in them.
As one opportunity for scouts, some of the current group projects could be easily redesigned to become opportunities for learning about creating and implementing breakthroughs. Let me provide an example.
When I was a scout, a new camping area was being developed by the Girl Scouts at the end of the desert next to some foothills near San Bernardino, California. We were invited to find some sapling donors, to dig up the saplings, to transport them to the camp, and to plant them at the side of the road. During rainstorms, it was hoped that enough water would run down the road to nourish and sustain the saplings. That sapling planting activity is a pretty good example of what might be involved in a scout project for serving others. The adults did the organization, and we scouts mostly took turns sharing a few shovels.
Having returned to that area many times over the years, I’m always struck that the environment would have been improved a lot more by also planting some groves of saplings to shade parts of that hot, sunny area where scout activities would be held. Naturally, some water would have had to be supplied, probably by drip irrigation. At first blush, many people would think that such a project is too big for a few scouts to take on.
If the whole project were begun as an opportunity to figure out how to do the task with 1/20 the time, money, and effort, several troops could work together to identify the best methods. Once a plan was developed, the troops could allocate the tasks into a meaningful sequence and organize a volunteering process to decide who would do what.
Such a successful project could have lined the roads and provided twenty groves that would have pleasantly shaded Girl Scouts during their summer activities over the last fifty years. In the process, dozens of youngsters would have learned how to organize similar breakthroughs for other service projects. Although the organization of such a larger project might have taken a little more time for the leaders, the benefits and the learning for the scouts would have been enormously greater.
In other cases, scout units could choose smaller projects that engage their members in different activities for teams of two, three, and four that do pieces of what the project requires. Youngsters could take turns playing leadership roles so that they could become more familiar with how to teach, to coordinate, and to encourage others. Such small-group tasks might begin with choosing what project to work on, move on to developing the breakthrough solution, and conclude with implementation.
What might such a task be? One possibility is mentoring younger children to increase their confidence and accomplishments. Youngsters are often more in awe of those who are just a few years older than they are of adults, who can seem hopelessly old and out of date. There are successful models of cross-age teaching in schools that could be used to start thinking and experimentation, such as matching fifth graders with kindergartners for pre-reading exercises. As a result, the younger children would also be more likely to participate in the scouts when they are old enough.
Such a program could start by having scouts meet with the younger children to find out what they want to learn to do better, then research the methods in use, design some tests, measure the results, and keep exploring until some practices prove to be effective in making breakthroughs. Scouts could also establish Web resources (in a safe environment supervised by the organization) to share what they learn with other scouts engaged in similar activities.
Finally, the good reputations of the scout organizations would enable them to engage in important community projects where breakthroughs may be needed, such as in building children’s playgrounds where land and resources are scarce. From such experiences, important skills and interests in organizing communities could be developed that would reward families for generations to come.
I believe that scout projects for learning and making breakthroughs will be most helpful when they involve training the volunteer adult leaders in exponential-improvement methods. Tutors should aim their development work at facilitating the volunteers while creating breakthrough learning programs that fit well with the overall objectives of each scouting program.
As exciting as those opportunities are, I believe that even greater accomplishments are possible for youth organizations that operate with their own specialized buildings and equipment. To explore that opportunity, let’s consider next the YMCA and the YWCA.
Equip Youngsters at the YMCA and the YWCA
with World-Improving Skills and Encouragement
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence,
add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control,
to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,
to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
For if these things are yours and abound,
you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
— 2 Peter 1:5-8 (NKJV)
As a youngster, the local YMCA building stood out to me like a beacon of God’s perfection. The “Y” was in the middle of a large park located about a half mile from my family’s home. The facilities were beautiful, and the programs were amazingly attractive. There was only one problem: My family couldn’t afford to join. I’m very sorry that I missed those opportunities.
Fortunately, my parents were able to afford to send me to YMCA day camp one summer for two weeks. It seemed like heaven on Earth. I can remember everything we did as if it were just yesterday, even though more than fifty years have passed since then.
When my two sons were growing up, I was delighted to find that our town contained a well-equipped YMCA building, one that made my hometown “Y” seem like a storage shed in terms of relative size. Having been blessed by the Lord with a more abundant income than my parents enjoyed, our family could afford to join this YMCA. My sons participated for many years, and I served as a volunteer basketball coach as well.
My sons developed a lifelong love of basketball, and I learned valuable lessons for teaching youngsters by observing the excellent and encouraging methods employed by the YMCA’s professional staff. Later on, in my many years of coaching youth soccer, the players and I continually benefited from the outstanding mentoring I received from the YMCA’s staff during the basketball seasons.
Facilities are important for helping develop breakthrough-creating experiences because they open up opportunities to accomplish things that cannot be done in a home or at a playground. In New England where I live, for example, it’s often too cold or too wet to play outside for long periods of time. In addition, facilities such as outdoor basketball courts are often covered with snow and ice that limit the practicality of playing. In southern parts of the United States, the heat of summer and early fall can make outdoor activities unpleasant and difficult, and large air-conditioned facilities can expand options there.
How can a YMCA or a YWCA employ its facilities to improve opportunities to learn and to make breakthroughs? Here’s one possibility: If the larger indoor areas, such as the basketball courts, aren’t in continuous use, these facilities can house large groups of people so that more complex and difficult breakthroughs can be worked on. In addition, talented instructors can assist many more people in such a space than in smaller venues, such as someone’s living room.
It’s obviously a bad idea to try to create the most complex and difficult breakthrough project you can simply because you have a large space. Let’s think in terms of issues where scale helps.
A “Y” could take on a community-level problem that might otherwise overwhelm the individual resources of many youngsters, such as reducing bullying in the community by more than twenty times (at least 96 percent less). I think of this issue because I remember our “Y” addressing the subject for the basketball players.
In parts of the world, bullying has become such an epidemic that it drives some children to consider taking their own lives … or the lives of the bullies. Many bullied youngsters are reluctant to ask for help from adults because bullies often escalate their nastiness after adults intervene. A safe environment such as the “Y” could allow adults and youngsters to develop effective approaches they can engage in together that youngsters feel good about.
By involving lots of youngsters and their families, there’s also the potential to encourage supportive behavior that will make acting like a bully less appealing. For example, I’ve often observed at a distance where just having one youngster stand up for a bullied child was enough to defuse a bad situation. Bullied youngsters have shared with me similar experiences of being “saved” by an older sibling’s or a friend’s intervention.
As a further opportunity, let’s imagine that offering self-defense classes turns out to be a good idea for giving bullied children more confidence. For the best results in such classes, it’s desirable to have a space where mats can be put down and there are plenty of mirrors around so that youngsters can compare their movements to what the instructors demonstrate. A well-equipped “Y” is likely to have such facilities. I know because my younger son benefited from increased confidence after a little martial arts training at the local “Y” while he was growing up. To my knowledge, he never used those skills outside the “Y.”
With enough specialized facilities, there’s also potential to create and to apply multiple methods for making exponential improvements that benefit from related activities. For instance, many “Y”s in colder climates have indoor swimming pools as well as large exercise and sports areas. With enough different types of facilities, a “Y” could offer a very complete physical fitness program that could serve as a breakthrough in reducing the number of obese, out-of-shape youngsters in a community by 96 percent. The youngsters could work on developing interest among their peers in such fitness training, perhaps the most difficult aspect of accomplishing this kind of breakthrough. Following such a success, future generations of youngsters in that community will benefit from being much more physically fit and mentally alert.
Who should be the tutors? While I certainly don’t want to discourage any interested parents from taking on that role, I believe that the professional staffs at the YMCAs and YWCAs would be exceptional resources for this purpose. Involving these staffs will be necessary, in any case, to be sure that the exponential-improvement learning programs fit well with the rest of what the “Y”s are trying to do.
Before leaving the subject of how youth associations can help spread interest in and knowledge of making breakthroughs, let’s consider the special case of organizations such as Junior Achievement that emphasize youthful learning and accomplishments that are already relevant for an adult setting.
Equip Youngsters Who Participate in Junior Achievement
with World-Improving Skills and Encouragement
If the ax is dull,
And one does not sharpen the edge,
Then he must use more strength;
But wisdom brings success.
— Ecclesiastes 10:10 (NKJV)
Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to teaching youngsters about business, finance, and economics. Founded in Springfield, Massachusetts (where basketball was invented, not terribly far from where I live), Junior Achievement has more than 300,000 volunteers who provide over nine million youngsters each year with classroom and after-school training. Independent evaluations published on the organization’s Web site (www.ja.org) in 2010 report that elementary school students who participate in the program gain skills in critical thinking and problem solving, middle school students increase their appreciation for education and their willingness to engage in it, and high school students are more likely to start college right after graduation and those who do feel better prepared to handle the college experience.
I have never been in a Junior Achievement class, nor have I taught one. So please rely on your knowledge of Junior Achievement and your research into its activities as the bases for drawing conclusions about what Junior Achievement might accomplish to help youngsters gain breakthrough-related knowledge. Let me propose a few ideas that may stimulate some useful discussions among those with more knowledge about the organization and its programs than I have.
Junior Achievement offers programs that introduce concepts for operating a business such as JA Be Entrepreneurial®, for students who want to start businesses while in high school. It should be relatively easy to develop additional modules to complement such an existing program, such as modules concerning how to gain twenty times more customers, to reduce costs of serving a customer by 96 percent, and to eliminate 96 percent of investment needs for each customer while employing no more time, money, and effort than the conventional approaches require.
Similarly, other Junior Achievement programs are quite focused on a given outcome, such as creating an appreciation for education. Modules could be added to those programs that encourage youngsters to develop solutions that would help them to gain twenty times more benefits from their application of the program.
While many of the Junior Achievement programs are conducted during normal school hours in classrooms, the organization also offers after-school learning. I believe that after school is an excellent time to offer breakthrough-related programs and add-on modules to existing programs.
I make this observation because volunteers with daytime jobs can often spend more time in the late afternoon than they can earlier in the day. In addition, working on concepts and investigating opportunities for breakthroughs is often more productive during longer sessions. After-school programs can often be two-hours long, which is a fine length for those youngsters who are old enough to be able to concentrate on a project that long (while still allowing for breaks to let everyone refresh their minds and bodies).
In addition, Junior Achievement has a number of very interesting contests that are designed to give youngsters deeper engagement in learning the kinds of information the organization shares. Undoubtedly, similar contests could be created that would give youngsters opportunities to develop and apply exponential improvements. Observing what the winners do with certain kinds of situations can also help other youngsters to get a sense of how practical it is for young people to make such improvements.
Junior Achievement is blessed with excellence in developing formal programs and training volunteers to provide the learning opportunities. I believe that tutors for Junior Achievement will be most productive if they work with curricula developers for the organization to add technical knowledge and to help prepare age-appropriate case examples and problems that make sense to youngsters from a variety of backgrounds.
Equip Youngsters Who Want to Make Exponential Improvements
with World-Improving Skills and Encouragement
through New Youth Associations
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
old things have passed away;
behold, all things have become new.
— 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
Some adults may become quite impressed by the potential to involve youngsters in creating and implementing breakthroughs and decide to increase such opportunities beyond what existing youth associations choose to do by creating new youth associations. While I do not advocate that approach, I also do not deny its potential.
I have two concerns about creating such new associations. First, I wouldn’t want to see youngsters be drawn away from the beneficial activities of existing youth associations. There’s a lot more to life than just making breakthroughs. Second, I think that working on breakthroughs could become overly fascinating to some youngsters, causing them to devote less time to other helpful activities, such as ones held at church, regular exercise, developing friends, and being involved with their families.
On the positive side, such new youth associations could be beneficial to youngsters who want to develop their skills in areas that they care about where there are no opportunities to help with breakthroughs. Let me provide a hypothetical example of what I mean.
Many young people want to help poor children in other countries and to improve the environment. Most of the activities that are available to youngsters involve simple volunteer work (cleaning up along a river or highway) and fund-raising (such as trick-or-treating for UNICEF). Working on breakthroughs with global consequences could be very heart-warming for some young people who might otherwise become discouraged about their potential to help improve matters. Such a youngster might otherwise lose hope of making a difference and choose instead to be satisfied with leading a pleasant life.
A potential benefit of such new associations is that they could raise the expectations that young people have for themselves, even if they don’t become directly involved. Today’s media like to tell us about problems young people have, or the accomplishments of young sports and entertainment stars. Wouldn’t it be great to also learn that each person can contribute enormously to everyone else beginning at quite a young age? I would have led a different life if I had known that. I believe you would have, too.
Looking at how to prepare future generations to be productive breakthrough makers by starting with youth isn’t the only way to ensure that everyone will contribute to adding exponential improvements. Another highly productive opportunity for tutors is to start from the perspective of encouraging everyone to make breakthroughs that will help many people. Our focus in Chapter Seven is how foundations might engage tutors to make their activities vastly more productive for encouraging learning how to make exponential improvements and then to go ahead and make them.
Copyright © 2011 by Donald W. Mitchell. All rights reserved.