What Does It Mean To Be an American

So I began to wonder, as I taught at Yale, what leadership really consists of. My students, like you, were energetic, accomplished, smart, and often ferociously ambitious, but was that enough to make them leaders? Most of them, as much as I liked and even admired them, certainly didn’t seem to me like leaders. Does being a leader, I wondered, just mean being accomplished, being successful? Does getting straight As make you a leader? I didn’t think so. Great heart surgeons or great novelists or great shortstops may be terrific at what they do, but that doesn’t mean they’re leaders. Leadership and aptitude, leadership and achievement, leadership and even ex­cellence have to be different things, otherwise the concept of leadership has no meaning. And it seemed to me that that had to be especially true of the kind of excellence I saw in the students around me.

8th Grader Wins "What Freedom Means to Me" Essay …

Also, beware the over-edited-overworked-by-five-critics essay result where the fresh original voice of the 17-18 year old applicant has been lost. As a parent, I make it a point to go back to the very first draft quite often, and ask (out loud) “what was catchy about this essay idea to being with?” and “is it still there in this current draft?”. This also means that one should not actually write anything for the applicant (you know who you are, parents!) — not only is it unethical, it also puts the idea in your voice, not theirs. Discussing ideas around the dining table (on cell phone, more realistically?), is fair and good I think, much as they would do with a teacher in school.


What does being American mean to you

8th Grader Wins “What Freedom Means to Me” Essay Contest February 2, 2011 February 17 ..

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