Educating 1000 Youth

March 13th, 2012 by Rich Christiansen

Most everyone knows that my major goal in life right now is to educate 1000 young men and women before I turn 50. This is all consuming to me at this point in my life. Indeed I have total confidence that this will come to fruition. I do have to admit however; I’m not sure how it’s going to happen.

One of my favorite saying is, “Do it now. Do it with a purpose. Make no small plans. They have no magic to stir men’s souls.”

This week I’ve had four powerful individuals, that I greatly respect, reach out to me. They each asked, “Rich how can we support you in this goal?”

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I stumbled around and stammered a bit and came up with several lame responses. As I’ve been thinking about it the last few days, here’s the conclusion I’ve come to.

There’s no need to wait to have impact. This summer I will be taking a group of teens down to Guatemala to work on the education goal. In the next few months I’ll also be taking a trip to Nepal to engage in working with a school called Choice Humanitarian. But that being said, there’s no excuse and no reason that everyone with an interest in humanitarian efforts can’t make an impact right now. It’s really this simple. Do it, do it now, do it with a purpose and make no small plan.

Great good can come from helping make a positive change in one person’s life. Here’s what you need to do to become a mentor to a person:
#1. Identify a young person with great potential that doesn’t see it in himself or herself.
#2. Reach out to the person, and help build him or her up. Help them see the vision and the potential within. Critique both the good and bad. Don’t be afraid to point out the things that are negative behaviors. At the same time offer incentives and rewards for positive changes.
#3. Make sure there is consistency with regular follow up. One thing I have done frequently is to assign an appropriate book i.e, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens or Way to Be. And of course if the person has a propensity for or an interest in business, I assign Bootstrap Business or The Zig Zag Principle. I like to use books as a discussion point for youth.

I also have a number of rules that I use to help shape and engage these young men and women. For example, they can’t become involved in abusive substances that will limit their potential, including drugs and alcohol and such. They must remain very focused on their schoolwork and hit excellent marks. Admittedly, I’m tough on these kids, and at the same time exceptionally loving.

I challenge everyone to reach out to the youth that you see. There is a crazy storm going on out in the world and kids could use supportive mentoring. Go out there and make a difference. Let’s not just educate a thousand; let’s educate 10,000 or 100,000 young people. Let’s put the youth on a course where they’ll have dramatic impact going forward. What an exciting time. What a meaningful goal. I can’t wait to share the experiences with Guatemala and Nepal. And I’d love to hear about your efforts too.

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