It dawned on me, as leaders in our country take confrontations brought to them and react with removal of voices, lashing back, lashing out, little is being done to reach across to individuals that disagree with maybe one’s perspective, despite disagreements. Instead of removing individuals from the public view that you might disagree with, I believe we should take examples from our youth – face topics that are being addressed that may or may not be in our favor- and do better, TOGETHER.
Example in point – the world in microcosm – Student Government. I have been an advisor with the same class since Sophomores and even though you have to accept a level of social drama, welcome to ADULT hood where as much drama occurs just in different forms. Yet, seeing the youth in front of me navigate through this drama path into a narrowed event the past few days, helped summarize what they have learned that is so much more than adults in leadership positions in our country.
When officers of positions of a class are questioned or taken to task because not enough is being seen done, or felt as being done – it would be easy to back away and simply ignore. It would also be easy for those bringing these arguments to walk away if things might not seem answered clear enough or simply be heard and wonder what results will occur. Yet, both groups – those wanting change, those representing a path to have change happen and lead that change, having the bravado to come back to the issues and come up with solutions, both addressing topics that are brought to their attention, could be taken personally, and yet- I witnessed officers and members of the senior class take criticisms and never deviate and put up a wall to work together – no – they stayed their course – they did not turn on each other, they did not devise plans to remove each other to get past that “noise” of what they could have considered “noise” – that “noise” and criticism actually shapes us as individuals; this opens a door for the future that many do not see – sometimes not seeing past one day, and you have individuals, YOUTH, willing to face criticism, willing to face adversity, and take it and ask, how can we work together and take these criticisms and make a better future.
I see referendums being asked by schools, I see many ADULTS claiming why referendums should pass for their districts – I see many ADULTS leading the path of plans for their city and county councils, I see ADULTS stating what their country needs and attacking other adults, and yes other Youth, but this is not what I see enough – YOUTH- YOUTH being asked what businesses THEY would like to see in their OWN communities, YOUTH being asked what THEY know about current referendums, THEIR solutions to what they are not seeing in their own schools, THEIR opinions on moves and decisions in their own towns, councils, and even down to the student governments.
Giving YOUTH a voice, be it a podcast as we have been trying to do, addressing first year high school students to put together plans that will affect so many communities, local city and county, school, and yes even the country. When more adults make it VISIBLE that they are allowing YOUTH to place a more vital role in the decisions being made that directly impact them- positive changes that bring youth with everyone else for dramatic changes in local municipalities, schools, and yes, even government. YOUTH need to be welcomed back through ACTION and opportunities for vision for the future.
I was lucky enough to see members of the Class of 2020 that had complaints, and then witnessed officers of that same class take those complaints, wants, needs, and more and BOTH stood their ground maturely and never waivered from denying the opportunity to work together still – no grudges brought out, no stubborness taking precedence over each other – adults need to take the example of youth willing to two the line maturely and deal with opposition and willing to embrace it and not lash out, but willing to work even more TOGETHER.
Until youth are being asked how to play a part in so much more that goes on around them, little will be done to convince future generations their ideas, their openness, their creativity, their education matters, and has an investment all around us. Isn’t that what education should be about? Facing adversity, life skills, application in this case of how Student Government can mirror how we handle every day life and manage opportunities for the future – all can be defined who we are as communities when one key factor I do not see happening as much as it needed to be years ago- What role do Youth play in decisions, businesses coming into our community, (aside from simply being workers) – what role in views and ideas do YOUTH have to recreate who we are as a county, state and country?
If you look closely, librarians like Donna Carter, Karen Johnson, community leaders like Matt MacCoy, Jeffrey Benson, Craig Dimes, Kathryn Burritt, Ms Geisler, and tons more, allowing YOUTH to be front and present for the issues that are of concern, but visibly hearing and seeing youth leading the charge being given keys, and allowing YOUTH to open the doors that will change the environment around us. Until YOUTH are being made a part of interviews for the very positions for individuals that will represent them, given voices for why financial support should be given to districts for growth, YOUTH being present on council meetings for businesses, concerns, etc, it is simply operations for adults- not for Youth. This is it the change that will create resurgence, renewal, and growth – rather than repeated cycles of remove, replace, request. We need more, we need more Youth forefront in major community decisions.