Why Do We Care?

Yesterday I was scheming with a friend about what I’d do if I won the Nobel Prize for literature. Don’t get me wrong – I haven’t written anything worth awarding. But if I did I’d like to go the high road, the way of the righteous who hang their win on causes like saving whales or fighting racism. My cause would be engaging youth.

Why do I care? It’s been more than a decade since I’ve worn the title of youth. I haven’t had a full-time job as a youth advocate for more than a year. Legislation I’ve fought for has failed, programs I started have folded and funding I relied on has vaporized. These decades of professional work with and for young people have taught me a lot, and one of the things I’ve learned is that this heart of mine beats stronger than any of those apparatti.

I care because when I see the news I don’t feel a choice. When I hear the statistics I hear the unending possibilities. When I look at the world I see a place that without hope in children and youth has no hope at all; luckily, hope is all around. It’s the kid who’s audacious enough to speak at the city hall meeting. It’s the homeless girl who made a video about her friends’ lives on the street. It the club that evaluated their classes and the young city planners who rated youth-friendliness of local businesses. It’s also the academic who wrote the paper to make the case that all this deepens civic engagement. It’s the tweeter who keeps giving heads-up about discrimination. It’s my little sister, who as a mom of 4 at the age of 31 signed up for the anti-adultism group on facebook, and knows exactly what that means.

I am niave enough, or bold enough, or whatever to think we should all care. I believe that and adult who interacts with young people in any respect and is concsiencous enough to read this blog has an an ethical imperative to respond to the crisis status facing young people in our society today. That is why I care. What about you?

— This is Adam Fletcher’s blog originally posted at http://www.YoungerWorld.org. For more see http://www.bicyclingfish.com

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to http://commonaction.blogspot.com. Learn more at adamfletcher.net!
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I'm a writer, trainer, speaker, and consultant. My work focuses on helping schools, nonprofits, and government agencies become more effective at engaging people.

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    August 13, 2009

    I can understand what you are going through when you say that much of the youth legislation that you push for fails. However, I have a solution for you that will solve that problem.

    The National Initiative for Democracy is a proposed piece of legislation that will give the people the power to legislate at ALL levels of government: federal, state, and local levels. It is trying to solve the inefficiencies of Congress representing the people by giving some of the power of lawmaking to the people. See Ni4d.us for more information.

    If congress does not listen, then the people should have the right to step in and make laws themselves.

    SEE ni4d.us FOR MORE INFORMATION. THIS WILL HELP YOU IN YOUR CAUSE.

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