The Kids are Alright or: How I stopped worrying and learned to listen to teenagers.

Today is Election Day.  It has been a long time coming.  Regardless of whether you are Red or Blue;  Trump or Biden; Mask-wearer or an anti-social science-denier, we will all be happy when this election is over (regardless how long it takes for the Supreme Court to tell us who the winner is.)  But make no mistake, we will not be a better country on November 4th then we are today.  It doesn’t matter who wins.  We will be no closer to solving society’s problems, because the person who is best positioned to effect change in America is not on the ballot.  They aren’t running for office.  In fact, they can’t even vote.  That’s because they are still in high school.

That’s right!  America’s next great agents of change can barely drive.  They can’t legally drink.  But they are wise beyond their years:

The Black Lives Matter movement has been really inspiring. Seeing hundreds of thousands of people flock the streets to tackle the sociopolitical inequalities is so inspiring. Whether you’re left or right, black or white, young or old, people are coming together to push for change. The consistent persistence for change this movement portrays inspires me to be an agent of change.

Honors Student, Class of 2022

They are self-aware:

The students of today will have to live with the decisions made now and down the road, and any influence we can have is critical…I want to tackle the issues of today to make a better tomorrow.

Honors Student, Class of 2022

…and optimistic:  

I can use my skills to better our world and help fix the many problems that are going on in our society.

NHS Student, Class of 2022

…yet pragmatic:

An agent of change is someone who does everything in their power to change what they see as unjust in the world. This person is someone who finds practical solutions to the problems of today so that the generation of tomorrow won’t have to deal with them. 

Honors Student, Class of 2022

But most importantly, they see through society’s stale and ineffective operating procedure and are ready to change it.      

My independent research has caused me to come to the conclusion that the world is in need of change, especially from the current generation, and I want to be a part of that change. 

NHS Student, Class of 2022

And because of that, each of these high school juniors has earned a place in the Teen Think Tank Project, a student-run policy institute developed by the George Milton Group in an attempt to foster tomorrow’s leaders by providing exceptional high school students with the opportunity to broaden their communication, research, decision-making, and analytic skills.

Now, this isn’t a novel idea, and the George Milton Group certainly can not take credit for realizing that society is best left in the hands of those that will inherit it.  (No, Whitney Houston clearly gets all of that credit). 

What we do get credit for is realizing that we are not the smartest person in the room.  Moreover, we looked around the room and noticed that everyone was merely talking over each other. Outsmarting one another.  It was as if each person was starring in their very own cable news show segment with an audience of 500+.

So, I left the room and ended up at the equivalent of some smart kid kegger in the basement of Lower Marion Township home.  But instead of beer, the keg was filled with equal parts frustration and optimism; and instead of the basement, we were in a library quietly debating the value of the Green New Deal via WhatsApp.

So, this Election Day.  Thank a teenager.  Not for what they’ve done, but for what they are willing to do to save us from ourselves.   

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