Turbulent times are upon us. Between a pandemic, riots, and a contentious election, America’s future looks shaky some days.
When Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of government Congress had established for the new United States, he replied, “A republic…if you can keep it.”
What keeps our republic from turning the page over to tyranny or anarchy?
It’s each generation of Americans, staying vigilantly responsible for preserving the republic.
What do we need to do to prepare the coming generation for this great responsibility? I think we need significant developments in four areas.
1. Principled Education
Nowadays, most colleges and universities are teaching students the opposite of strong principles. Students aren’t encouraged to think for themselves. They aren’t encouraged to think with nuance. The principles that many families work to instill in their students are blatantly attacked on many campuses.
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Furthermore, the idea of personal sacrifice for freedom is a foreign concept on many campuses. Students are protected by “safe spaces” and shielded from any “problematic” ideas, instead of being trained to engage those ideas.
Keeping the republic often involves sacrifice and higher education has poorly prepared students to sacrifice.
Students need to know the principles of responsible citizenship and the sacrifices that help “keep the republic”.
2. Leadership Training
What is leadership? How do leaders lead well?
A republic obviously requires strong leaders. A student who grows up learning how to be a strong servant leader will emerge well-equipped to make an impact on their world.
Leadership incorporates many important skills like active listening, coaching, critical thinking, wisdom, and service. But leadership development programs don’t always teach it that way.
The next generation needs holistic leadership training so they can prepare to make wise (sometimes tough) decisions and influence others to create change.
3. Extraordinary Ordinary Skills
What are some ordinary skills that we expect most people to have?
How to have a conversation, how to work productively, how to rest well, how to build quality relationships, how to manage time and tasks would be at the top of our list.
These are things we do every day and yet oftentimes, these can be the hardest things to do well.
It will require more than a head knowledge of principles for students to lead responsible lives. They need to know the skills of relationship-building, working, time management, rest, and more.
Higher education fails our students here again. Rather than learning how to be independent, students learn unrealistic expectations by living in an artificial bubble on campus. This bubble is designed to provide students with everything they need: food, shelter, community, and a structured schedule, with minimal effort from the student.
On the other hand, when students are left to provide for themselves, set their own schedule, and build their own community, they learn these invaluable skills for themselves.
4. Wisdom for Days Ahead
Students that throw themselves carelessly into post-graduate life will find it hard enough to live responsible lives, much less contribute to the “keeping of the republic”.
Our nation’s turbulent times call for a generation of intentional, purpose-filled leaders who have an understanding of their unique strengths and calling.
They need to emerge from college with more than a piece of paper that will qualify them for job opportunities. They need to know what their strengths are and how to use those strengths for maximum impact.
Want to prepare your student to make a positive impact on the world? Get them plugged into community, trained in leadership principles, and on the road to purposeful living! Navigate from Unbound helps students find and execute on their purpose. Get a course preview for free.
Jace Bower serves as a Content Development Specialist for Unbound. An Unbound alumnus, he has experienced firsthand the powerful advantages of doing college differently and participating in an intentional community. Jace graduated with his bachelor’s degree in History in 2016 and has worked in restaurant management and marketing since then. He also served on the Unbound Student Cabinet in 2019.
The author of two books and a semi-regular blogger, Jace can often be found doing something with words. When he’s not, chances are he’s reading about theology, listening to music, or playing pool or tennis with his wife Shannon in their Virginia home.