With Great Power

America loves a good superhero.

I clearly remember the moment my own superhero love affair started: Ninth grade. Spiderman. The geeky and sweet (yet 100% dreamy) Peter Parker. The radioactive spider bite. Then, Uncle Ben shot by the very robber that his nephew let go free. His final words, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

As a high school freshman, I reveled in the depth of these words. Yeah, I thought, one day when I grow up, I will use my adult power for good. Yet almost a decade later, I find myself saying essentially the same thing.

The problem with this thinking is twofold. First, it assumes that one day we will wake up and suddenly find ourselves grown up enough to change the world. My 81 year old grandma recently told me that she wakes up every morning and is surprised to learn from her reflection in the mirror that she is no longer 25. I think it’s safe to say that, for many of us, we will never feel fully “grown up.”

And second, this thinking assumes that we do not have the power to make BIG change already within us, just waiting to be unleashed.

The Sidekick Collective is founded on the belief that you don’t have to be a grown up or be bitten by a radioactive spider (although the latter would be rad) to save the world. We believe that there are students roaming the high schools of our nation right now who have the big ideas, abilities, and drive that we need to make big change.

And yet the power residing within these students is too often constrained, sometimes by a lack of resources and sometimes by the words “maybe when you grow up.” Whatever the cause, these constraints are costing us opportunities to make the world a better place - right here, right now.

Now imagine instead a world where we could invest in a student’s big idea early, like venture capitalists do with startup and early stage companies. What if students never learned the words “no” or “can’t”, and were never told “maybe when you grow up”?

What would happen if we instead asked them, “Why not you? Why not now?”

We have a duty to ask these questions. We have a duty to remove the constraints and provide the resources that enable students to unleash their powers - their superpowers. You could even say that it is our responsibility to do so.

And so, that is what The Sidekick Collective seeks to do: identify, celebrate, and invest in the next generation of American superheroes. And we know that, given the opportunity, young people across the country will use their great power with great responsibility - and that they may even save the world.

Paige EdmistonComment