I find it less easy to be critical of young people since my return to the desert. The kids in my neighborhood – a healthy mix from varied cultural backgrounds – are energetic, openly friendly and polite, and seem to spend less time fixed to video screens than I have become accustomed to.
Early in February, we posted a blog titled “When I Grow Up.” In it, I referred to my older grandchildren when I wrote,
“Young people are our future. To ignore them and those things important to them would be a mistake. To encourage them to strive to better the world and those who occupy it with them is our obligation.”
Last week, one of my two, 13-year-old grandsons, Jerome – who goes by ‘Rome’ – emailed me about an essay he was writing as a school assignment that would focus on ‘improving society.’ He decided to write his essay on American politics, specifically the voting system. He asked for my take on American politics.
I was caught unaware and would never have guessed that a 13-year-old boy would write an essay on that topic. I am probably the worst person to ask about American politics, but I responded with a short discourse on Henry David Thoreau and civil disobedience. I am glad he ignored me!
Two days later, Rome shared his essay. I was more than pleased and impressed. I was proud that he demonstrated his ability to write an essay on this complex topic, AND that he was willing to share it with me.
While tempted to print the 612-word essay in this post, I do not think that would be fair to Rome. I will, however, share a sentence from the opening paragraph that will give you a sense of the depth of thought and research behind it…
“… the electoral college is undemocratic because it creates swing states, unbalanced voting power between citizens, and ignores the popular vote…”
Powerful, well-chosen words from a young man. Whether or not you or I agree with him is irrelevant. Despite our political positions, I believe we must respect him.
I return to the statement I wrote three months ago…
“Young people are our future. To ignore them and those things important to them would be a mistake.”
The fact that Rome wrote this essay and was willing to share it strengthens my belief in the young people who will carry the torch forward to light the darkness that too many of us fear. He and his soon to be 13-year-old cousin Xylia – whose many essays and papers I have been blessed to read – assure me that the future of America and the world will be in good hands.