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Highschool Student,

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How can young America make a difference?

With the role of children and teenagers set up into a consistent apprenticeship of watching and learning from the adults around them it's a lot harder to make a difference and for their ideas and voices to be heard. Personally, as a member of younger America, I have missed out on many wonderful opportunities due to the fact that I am 14. I must wait to mature before I can contribute ideas alongside adults and be taken completely seriously. I believe maturity does not come with age but with mind. I just wonder if there is a proper way for a "child" to pursue their dreams early without the, say, plus 20 years of experience, work, and university. Just a thought! Thank you so much for your time!

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  • Aug 19 2012: Young America can make a difference by freeing themselves of the ancestral brainwashing that has caused the historical repetition of human atrocities that have destroyed human life and limited the creativity, freedom, health and happiness of humankind. Think for yourself. Believe what you believe. Express the truth as you know it to yourself and others. Be who you really are. If you have been improperly programmed, re-program yourself to live according to your own highest awareness of what is right, good, positive. You will succeed in accomplishing your positive goals. Right on!
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      Gail . 50+

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      Aug 19 2012: I second that!!! Well said.
    • Aug 19 2012: This is great! With so many restraints set by society, and ideals on how children must lead the lower portion of their lives, it's hard to see past it all and get going! I think you got it all down! Thanks again!
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        Aug 19 2012: Emily, That was the rant of Peter Pan with a new slant from Rhona. There are reason that people under 21 are limited in powers and freedoms. Your words are .... without age, experience, work, and university .... Lets play what if. You are a banker a 14 year old enters a bank and wants to start a business he lack the four things mentioned above what are the chance of success and the return of your money he is asking to barrow. OR you own a for profit business would you hire a 14 year old to work independently in a position to directly impact production, marketing, or sales of your product. Probally not.

        Rhona says what you want to hear and maybe not what you need to hear. She believes you are brainwashed and programed. Her statement in many countries would have her in jail or shot. But yet she enjoys the freedom of speech in the USA. You have the freedom to accept or reject her argument without punishment. There are clubs available for you to venture into the bisiness world .. to develop, market, and vend a product. Your generation hold up Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, etc as heros that did not do college, etc .... Apply for a job with their company and find out what they require for employment ... age, experience, work, and education are major factors.

        We all experienced the same frusterations. Been there .. done that.

        My advice to you is to make the most of what is available to you at each stage of life. Listen, learn, grow. America still offers more opportunities than most countries. Do not let your anger stand in the way of your future. Adjust, adapt, and overcome.

        All the best. Bob.
        • Aug 19 2012: Thank you Robert! I really liked this response, and especially the last section. I do truly appreciate the freedoms I have in the States, for making an impact would be a lot harder elsewhere, even as an adult! I do not believe my brain has reached its peak, and I will thrive and grow as the years go on, learning from the adults and the experienced around me.

          I think I will wait, and prepare for the window of opportunity that will open after University to tackle big projects and ideas. As for the original mission, I was speaking on a more general scale. The fact that an ignorant child's ideas will be questioned rather than accepted as apposed to an ignorant adult's. Children have many hidden thoughts inside that many adults would never realize. Sometimes their innocence and ignorance can help a community with innovations that someone with all of the factual knowldedge in the world would never be able to see from behind all the "knowledge clutter"

          Thank you again Bob! I think your point was very truthful and straightforward, and I can totally appreciate that. The world needs more people like that. :-)
        • Aug 20 2012: This expression of mine was not meant to be limited to the USA. It would work throughout our planet. I wonder if what I said represents the way you live, Robert.
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    Aug 21 2012: I would suggest something very strange to you... It's not that you aren't allowed to contribute and make a difference. It's that most of the adults whom surround you, have worked their entire life, to avoid working, contributing, and making a difference, so they don't actually understand what you want to do. They also apparently have you convinced, that a human being needs all sorts of skills and experience in order to accomplish something.

    Find something that is broken... and fix it. Plant a garden, or fruit trees. Find an abandoned piece of land outside of town, and use the fact that you're a cute kid, to get the person that owns it to let you farm there... You'll do more good than must people with all sorts of degrees and experience ever dream of. You know what people need? Food, water, and energy... You know how to make it? Of course you do, watch some ted videos, and start building things : )
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      Aug 21 2012: This is very good insight that a lot of people don't want to admit exists
    • Aug 22 2012: Thank you very much David! My sister and I are in fact planting cherry trees around our neighborhood, so that's a start, right?

      Also going back to the first point made in the comment, I really think you hit the nail right on the head. Everyone I had approached in search of a job, or even asking to do volunteer work, had turned me down because of my age. I've found the key to getting around this is independent work, but being a member of young America makes it very hard to acquire investments or help. Anyway, you are spot on with the fact that people don't need a handful of skills to accomplish something. People need to be more trusting!

      Thank you again!
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    Aug 20 2012: I thought you might appreciate this excerpt from Walden by Henry David Thoreau:

    "What old people say you cannot do you try and find that you can. Old deeds for one people, and new deeds for new. Old people did not know enough once, perchance, to fetch fresh fuel to keep the fire a-going; new people put a little dry wood under a pot, and are whirled around the globe with the speed of birds, in a way to kill old people, as the phrase is. Age is no better, hardly so well, qualified for an instructor as youth, for it has not profited so much as it has lost. One may almost doubt if the wisest man has learned any thing of absolute value by living. Practically, the old have no very important advice to give the young, their own experience has been so partial, and their lives have been such miserable failures, for private reasons, as they must believe' and it may be that they have some faith left which belies that experience, and they are only less young than they were. I have lived some thirty years on this planet, and I have yet to hear the first syllable of valuable or even earnest advice from my seniors. They have told me nothing, and probably cannot tell me any thing, to the purpose. here is life, an experiment to a great extend untried by me; but it does not avail me that they have tried it. If I have any experience which I think valuable, I am sure to reflect that this my Mentors said nothing about."

    The young are a new generation and its time we begin to create the world we want, not fix the world our elders created. See, age does not garner wisdom if wisdom becomes the constricting force to dreams. Have you ever wondered why the majority of 20 year olds are free thinking liberals, and 60 year olds staunch conservatives? I imagine that you learn in life that things don't often work out as planned. But if experience tells you to fear risk, than I say fear experience and idealize a dream for only you can create your passion to make a difference.
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      Aug 20 2012: Have you noticed that we have a couple modern day Thoreaus on this very TED site? I think we really do.
      Nice excerpt.
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        Aug 20 2012: Thanks! I wish transcendentalism was appreciated much more these days. The philosophies are eternal and more than ever applicable.
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    Aug 19 2012: YOU had my interest and support until I read this:

    "With the role of children and teenagers set up into a consistent apprenticeship of watching and learning from the adults around them it's a lot harder to make a difference and for their ideas and voices to be heard"

    Can you think of a SINGLE generation that did not come up the same way? They made a difference, didn't they and many of them did not have the advantages this generation enjoys.
    • Aug 19 2012: Thank you very much! That's very true, my generation is very lucky to have all of the technological and social allowances. Good point!
  • Aug 20 2012: Emily, Are you really asking for a shortcut? Do you advocate eliminating experience to gain wisdom?

    You can make a difference! What is it you would like to do? How much time do you need to figure out what interests you most or-----what project in the world needs your skills?

    Life without mentoring? Life without experienced advice from those born before you? Is this what you want to establish for yourself? What effect would this have on other people?

    Are we in the need for younger persons who likely will make more mistakes due to lack of experience to take charge of management and make major decisions?

    Not sure what you really advocate here!

    You've received superb responses here. Are these people 14 years old?

    Clarification please!
    Kindness intended.
    • Aug 22 2012: Thank you Mark! I am very grateful to be raised in a world where the adults around me are so supportive and willing to mentor. I completely understand what you are saying, and I think children SHOULD look up to adults, and learn from their mistakes and victories. The point I was trying to get across, however, was that young Americans have a hard time even contributing ideas! As I stated before, "I am speaking on a more general scale of contributing to their society. Sometimes even the most ignorant people can contribute the most, and ideas worth spreading don't necessarily have to be filled with fact and experience!". Children, and young people do not necessarily have to run mega corporations, but their contributions could be something out of reach to adults.

      Thank you again Mark!
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    Aug 19 2012: Once you make it through school and hopefully get into a great university, that's your window of opportunity to really make a difference. Although, right now, you could organize a TEDx event. That could be a great way to get people to share ideas and information.
  • Aug 19 2012: Be lucky that you can not live your dreams yet-most people will agree that they are more than just happy that they did not turn out the person they dreamed of being at the age of 14-be sure of that.

    And being taken complete seriously also means that you have take serious responsibility for your actions. Do you really want to take a responsibilty for everything you do, now at the age of 14?
    • Aug 19 2012: Yes I do understand the fact that consequence comes with everything, and I really do believe that I have a lot more maturing to do, intellectually and physically, before I should take on big projects and decide the road to travel. Although I completely understand where you are coming from, that wasn't really the point I was trying to get across. I am speaking on a more general scale of contributing to their society. Sometimes even the most ignorant people can contribute the most, and ideas worth spreading don't necessarily have to be filled with fact and experience!

      Thank you for the response! It made me rethink my words, and that's how you know you've presented a good question!
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    Aug 19 2012: Here is an example you might consider. There are others like it:

    http://www.cityyear.org/youngheroes.aspx
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    Aug 19 2012: Don't think too much on what you can't do, but think about things that you can do, especially the things that not even adults can do.
    • Aug 19 2012: Thank you James, I feel that's how all young people should live :-)