“One of the most difficult things to do is to infuse in young people a sense of empathy and a larger world…to give them a perspective that is more macro and less narcissistic,” Jon Stewart said in his recent interview with Ronan Farrow.
Farrow, when asked how he came by his desire to make a positive difference in the world, replied that it was growing up in a “mini-United Nations” sort of family (many of his 13 siblings were adopted from all over the world, some with serious physical or mental disabilities) that gave him the desire to become an agent for positive change on a worldwide scale.
Mia did something right to have set such a force in motion!
Ronan Farrow was a prodigy, going to college at my home institution, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, at the tender age of 11. Although I never had him in class, I remember seeing him on campus, his bright blond hair always a stand-out, his small frame bent beneath a heavy backpack of books.
He went on to Yale Law School at 18, after serving a two-year stint as a youth ambassador at the United Nations; then became a Rhodes Scholar, worked at the State Department, and is now about to launch his own cable news show.
At 26, he’s done more than most of us will ever do.
I am quite impressed by the agenda he’s set for his show. It will be news aimed at a youth audience, specifically designed to spark the empathy Stewart referred to, and not only that but to give his audience concrete options for taking action on the issues and situations presented.
Every show will have a “call to action,” Farrow said, and “a menu of things to do”; ways “to move the needle” on important issues.
I have noticed from my years of working with young people on social and environmental justice issues that they get very impatient and turned-off by discussions of problems that don’t also include solutions, preferably along with ways that they can get involved in moving the solutions forward.
It must be his twenty-something instinct that is prompting Ronan Farrow to put his talents and connections to work in creating just the kind of show his own generation is longing for.
It will have the celebrity pizzazz that his handsome face and famous name brings; the erudition and seriousness of purpose that his education and professional experience has provided; and with any luck, it will be a real beacon of active hope for millions of potential young change agents.
Go Ronan! It is great to see a young person who is so clearly in the flow of living his purpose.