Is there a difference between America today and when it was first founded? That difference is shown through the lifestyle of the young people in the twentieth century, because the young people will soon be the consumers of the next generation. When America was first founded, there were only two “groups” of people: children, and adults. But even then, the children were expected to take on responsibility that launched them into adulthood. How is this thought shown in someone’s life? Let me illustrate with the lives of three young people from each era in America’s past and how they have changed.
‘Seventeen year-old George was given the job as a county suveyor in his home state. Later at the age of twenty-three, he was the head of the state milita. However, the things he did, did not start when he was 17. George had lost his father when he was eleven; and as the oldest of six children, George had to take care of them. Ten year-old David had his first job as a navel cadet on the warship Essex, the same ship his father served. At the age of twelve, he commanded a prize ship back to the US with the captured British troops still on board, successfully. Fourteen year-old Clara nursed her father’s hired hand back to health and others in her town who came down with smallpox. At seventeen, she became a successful school teacher, in charge of forty students.Some of which were her own age.’
We know these stories or the lives of these people because they “rose to the occasion”. We even know their names and the rest of their stories. George Washington, David Farragut, and Clara Barton. George Washington became the first president in America’s history, David Farragut made a career out of the navy and became an Admiral on the USS Farret during the Civil War, with Clara’s first step outside of her comfort zone started the American Red Cross. These people had those expectations not because of choice, but because of the times in which they lived. So what would today’s world look like if we had the mindset of George, David, and Clara? Let me show you what this would look like through the examples of Zach Hunter, and twin brothers Alex and Brett Harris.
Twelve year-old Zach studied the undergroud railroad when he realized that slavery still exists. He has spoken in front of millions of people at concerts on several occasions,and at other venues, while starting his own organization called “Loose change to loosen chains” (LC2LC) in the fight against modern day slavery. Zach is now twenty-four, and is still fighting to end present-day slavery in his lifetime.
Sixteen year-old twin brothers, Alex and Brett, started a movement called the Rebelution with the message of using the teen years as a launching pad into life and not a vaction time of resposibility. They have spoken mulitple times around the country and worldwide with this message, wirtten the book Do Hard Things which calls the teens of this generation to do things that make them stretch and grow, instead of wasting time in the mundane. These brothers now have written another book, Start Here which gives a how-to of doing hard things. Right where you are. These brothers are now twenty-five, Alex is now getting a law degree at Harvard, whereas Brett is still spreading the Do Hard Things message.