Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens isn’t just for kids. In fact, the subtitle is: And Every Adult Who Wants to Change the World. Appropriately so.
My wife and I learned about A Thomas Jefferson Education a few years ago and have been adopting the philosophy in our home. Many of our friends think it is a home-school curriculum, but it is so much more.
Thomas Jefferson Education or Leadership Education is a philosophy, really a way of life, focused on discovering the genius in each of us and nurturing an awareness that we each have a purpose in life. The more clearly we define that purpose, the greater drive we feel to put in the effort to learn and develop and prepare for the future.
It’s not hard to perceive how powerful this approach would be for a teenager struggling to pay attention at school. How different the focus of our entertainment-addicted would be if they understood their role in shaping the future!
Brooks and DeMille discuss the historical trends explained in The Fourth Turning of the rise and decline of societies. We are at a critical point in that cycle, and we need adults and youth prepared to lead effectively with integrity and a sound understanding of principles.
Conventional wisdom tells us to study hard, get good grades, get a job, and save for retirement, but this approach no longer offers the security that it did in past decades. I think kids intuitively understand this considering more and more college graduates remain unemployed or underemployed. They start their adult lives with low paying jobs under a mountain of student loan debt. It’s hard to have hope in that situation.
I see a lot of adults coming to this realization as the most experienced professionals in their field (consequently they are often the highest paid employees) are “let go” to ease constricting budgets. It definitely shook my confidence when I saw a bunch of highly competent ICU nurses replaced by new grad nurses without that literally life saving knowledge and experience. That decision was fueled by budgetary stress when the economy took a turn for the worse.
My intention is not to speak ill of professional training, but to point out that a different way of thinking is necessary in these changing times.
Politics is increasingly vitriolic, families are under attack, our prison system is saturated, the state of the nation’s finances is a joke. We can no longer rely on the “experts” who evidently cannot solve the problems. Actually, even if we had wise and principled leaders, if the people don’t understand and get involved we will never see positive change.
The key to steering our nation (and the world) through uncertainty and crisis toward prosperity and freedom is educated individuals. Not just those who have a fancy piece of paper from a university, but people who understand the questions discussed throughout the history of civilization, individuals versed in the various answers posited by philosophers and rulers, and those able to see the historical evidence of where those different routes inevitably take the societies that adopt them.
But understanding alone isn’t enough. Those individuals must also learn to communicate effectively. They must develop the integrity to align their thoughts and actions with truth. They need initiative and drive. And they must be wise enough to know that fixing the world is too big for any one individual or small group of individuals.
We all have our role to play. What’s yours? What are you doing to prepare for and fulfill that mission?
This book will help.