Young People and the Japanese Carp

The Japanese carp fish, also known as koi, has seemingly unlimited growth potential. If you put a koi in a small fish bowl, it will grow to only two or three inches long. In an average aquarium it will reach six to ten inches. In a pond, it can grow to be a foot and a half. And if the koi is placed in a lake, where it can really stretch out, it can grow up to three feet long. The size of the fish is proportional to the size of its home.

It works this way with young people, too. They grow according to how we treat them—not physically, of course, but intellectually, psychologically, and emotionally. Traditional discipline approaches stunt initiative and responsibility. In contrast, empowering the young feeds their potential. If we want our civil society to continue as we have inherited it, we must empower young people—in contrast to overpowering them.

Responsibility and democracy are inseparable. Neither can be imposed. Implementing the Raise Responsibility System is a simple way to empower the young to reach their potential “size.”