1. You don't have to be old to have character. In fact, "knowing things" can be a real impediment because the more you "know" the less you remain present to what's actually, really, truly happening. Your brain be too big for your britches, boy!
Often those we consider experts have long ago lost touch with whatever is most alive in their lives because their knowledge seduces them into a kind of laziness of perception and an absence of wonder. Youth, by contrast, loves to not know things. If something doesn't work, it's not a failure but an opportunity to get to try the next fun experiment.
Exhibit #1 of Youthful Character:
A CxD reader forwarded me the email below. For context, Marek is the new student in school and Henry is my reader's son who wrote the note below to the new student:
Email written to the teacher:
"Thanks for your help with Marek today, I was so happy to see him warm up to the students and the school. During drop off this morning one of the students noticed Marek was upset. When Marek went in the class a young boy [Henry] gave him this note. It was so thoughtful and he really appreciated it. I think Marek will be very happy there. Thanks again."
Is being warm and welcoming a character strength or weakness? If everyone always felt welcome everywhere, where would terrorism and war go to do their bidding?
2. Malala Yousafzai is the forty-seventh woman to win the Nobel Prize, and at the age of 17 years, the youngest winner of a Nobel Prize in any field.
"In October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban assassin who jumped inside her school van and yelled, “Who is Malala?” She was targeted for speaking out on girls’ education.
Since her attack and recovery, Yousafzai has led the Malala Fund in which she said has invested $6 million for schools and books and uniforms for schoolchildren.
In the Netflix interview show with David Letterman, Letterman asks Malala "If you had not survived, who would take up the cause?"
So: What's your cause? What do you intend to do with your life?
3. Why is Silence So Powerful? Adults are very good at arguing, using their knowledge as impregnable fortresses. Watch this young person, Emma Gonzalez, use silence as a powerful antidote to words. When we first truly feel the grief and tragedy of what's occurred in our lives, we don't have to keep hiding from our fear by creating more of it.
Can you watch this without crying? I hope not.
Watch the Power of Silence.
Bonus Wisdom Pin-up: