First, I talked about "them". By "them" I mean the really smart people who are we are banking on fixing our nation's problems. You know who they are. "They" are going to cure cancer someday. "They" are going to fix our national debt, or create technology that will give us all universal health care. "They" are those smart people that will fix things in time. This metaphysical pool of innovators and scientists who magically come up with a fix for global warming, or fossil fuel energy depletion.
Here's the kicker. I was talking to the top 5% of the students in my school. My school is known across the state of Iowa as a premier school district in terms of test scores, college admission, completion, and success of students. Iowa has been known as one of the premier states in which to go to high school. I was talking to "Them" directly. Students need to realize that they can not wait for someone to solve these problems. They are "Them".
It was an eye-opener for me as well as them (pun intended). It reaffirmed my responsibility as a teacher. I can not just teach to the middle student, or try to bring kids to a minimum level of achievement. I needed to push the high end kid, challenge them, and develop in them a confidence to take chances and innovate.
I then showed the following video.