04 June 2007

Preparing for leadership

The Work Research Foundation's Comment is beginning its second annual series aimed at university-bound young people with an article by yours truly, titled: Making the most of college: Preparing for leadership. A brief selection:

If you are at a university where the larger questions of right and justice are posed, and where discussion of them is encouraged, throw yourself into the dialogue. Ask your own questions and consider thoughtfully the questions of others. Be daring and don't be afraid to put forward your own ideas. That's what you're there for. From my own time at Redeemer, I've discovered that a Christian university can provide an especially fertile ground for nurturing such discussions. This is because students are often given the tools to see through reductionist explanations — say, Marxism, Freudianism and Darwinism — for the complex phenomena of God's world. But it may also be that Christians are more aware than others of participating in an ancient tradition of reflection and a larger conversation that started long before they were born and will continue long after they are gone.

On the other hand, if you are at a university where the study of politics is narrowed to what can be addressed by the scientific method, then discussion of the larger questions is not likely to be encouraged. In fact, it might be actively discouraged, and you may find yourself being advised to switch to the study of philosophy or religion rather than politics. If this is your situation, it will be up to you to round up like-minded fellow students and to jump start the conversation with them on your own time. I know from personal experience that sometimes meeting regularly with an extracurricular discussion group, especially when accompanied by a shared meal, can be more life-changing than the formal courses offered by the university.

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