The Character Movement

Photo by Rory Björkman on Unsplash

Analogy of the Fog

I have always been fascinated by Ben Franklin. In his book, “The Autobiography of Ben Franklin,” he shares the story of the “Analogy of the Fog.” Franklin asks us to picture ourselves walking down a road on a foggy night. The people we see on the road far ahead of us and far behind us are wrapped in fog. But near us — no fog; all is clear, or so it seems … In Franklin’s own words, “though in truth, we are as much in the fog as any of them.”

Today, almost three hundred years later, Franklin’s observations about people remain true. Leaders in all sectors must understand that each of us has a small circle of awareness. We cannot make the mistake of thinking that people “out there” are in a fog, but we’re not. The fog blinds us all.

Acknowledging this is humbling, but it is also the first step to finding a clearer and better way forward. Humble leaders know that they do not know it all. They know they must seek out variety of thought to grow in understanding and wisdom. Humble leaders know they need others. At Youth Frontiers, we create spaces for leaders of all ages to pause, unplug and connect — opportunities to understand the limitations of the fog and integrate the wisdom of community.

For thirty years, Youth Frontiers has practiced building character and community with the students on our retreats, helping our future leaders shift their focus from “me” back to “we.” Recently, we’ve expanded our work with educators and the broader community, creating workshops and events that remind us adults of our need for each other.

Why are we at Youth Frontiers working with adults? Because our kids need their leaders to model character. Their own character development depends on it; the destiny of our nation depends on it.

We know we still have a long road to travel, but we are humbled and grateful to have partners like you along for the journey. Thank you for helping us continue to cut through the fog.


Joe Cavanaugh

Founder & CEO Youth Frontiers

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