I remember it so clearly: I was sitting outside during my first weekend of college, a book open in my lap. It was my first assignment, from my first religion course. Problems of Religious Thought sounded like it would be fun, based on what I knew from my high-school World Religions course. And then I tried to read Søren Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling. After I puzzled my way through perhaps ten of the 200 pages we were assigned, I looked up and thought: Oh no. I’m not ready for this.
Are we ready? I see that question in the faces of our first-year students as they start a new semester at MIT. Just as strikingly, I hear it underneath the unsettling news stories of the past weeks. Did we learn enough from Selma to be ready for Charlottesville? Could the lessons of Andrew and Katrina help us prepare for Harvey and Irma? Did our experience with Iran teach us what we need to be ready for North Korea?
When I got back to that religion class, one of my classmates raised his hand and ask “How do you get through this stuff?” Since he was brave enough to ask that question, we all got a great lesson in how to read philosophy. In ten minutes, our professor gave us all the reading strategies I would need for the rest of my theological studies. In the same way, I firmly believe that if we keep asking questions, we’ll find our way through whatever comes, whether we feel ready or not. Check out our Programs section to see all the great questions we’ll be asking here at Radius.
And for everyone who feels unready to lead in this complex world, here is great TED talk from Drew Dudley about a girl who nearly left college on the first day, and the power of a small kindness (and a lollipop) to change a life.