One of my favorite things to do is talk with young people. So often we dismiss their bubbly energy and carefree behavior as apathy, but I have found that when I take the time to listen and engage them in conversation we find common ground. They crave connection. Yesterday, I had the privilege of meeting with a government class at Beach High School. We had a lively discussion about the federal, state, and local court systems. Eventually, our conversation moved to the importance of the right to vote. I echoed their teacher’s message that voting is a major civic responsibility, and they should take pride in educating themselves on the candidates and casting their votes. I reminded them that by exercising their right to vote they can choose the people who will run their government. I encouraged the students who were of age to register to vote now, and asked the younger ones to follow suit next year. I sensed these ideas resonating with them, and expect they will exercise their civic duty when they are of age.
Spending time with these students reminded me of the vigor and endurance needed by our teachers to engage with our spirited young people on a daily basis. Thank you to Ms. Kelsey Andersson for inviting me to speak to your class, and for your dedication to the students at Beach High School. I applaud your efforts and dedication, as well as all teachers who have committed themselves to educating our youth. Teachers help young people learn about government and the importance of their rights and responsibilities as citizens in a democratic state in school, but I believe all adult American citizens play a role in the development of our children’s civic sensibilities. To that end, I was happy to participate yesterday. Now it’s your turn—go vote, and talk to a young person about voting!