Learn from the Mormons: America needs a national year of service

There's a reason why the Mormons fielded two top candidates in a single presidential election cycle and there's a reason why the comparatively small church is surging to prominence worldwide. Primarily, it's the fact that they inculcate within their teenagers the idea of mandatory service. From age nineteen to twenty-one, young Mormon men are encouraged to serve on a mission which they themselves largely subsidize by working in their teen years. Many Mormon women also do a mission beginning at 21 for about eighteen months. And what does a mission do? It teaches them altruism and selflessness, not to mention going beyond a natural shyness and learning to approach complete strangers about their beliefs. The approximately 52,000 Mormon missionaries are not allowed to call home other than Christmas and Mother's Day and communicate with loved ones with a single weekly email.
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