Harrison is 17 years old from New Jersey, and loves playing guitar, tennis, and learning about current events. He wants to be a genetic counselor when he’s older and hopes to travel around the world.
The 2008 U.S. Presidential Election between Barack Obama and John McCain attracted unprecedented interest from the young populace. While there hasn’t been a dull moment in our country since this election, I still feel that teenage students are still not politically aware enough in our country. This generation, like every other generation before it, holds the future leaders of this nation. I find it extremely pertinent for these future leaders to be kept informed of the current events on the front page of your morning newspaper. Speaking of newspaper, could part of the issue be that nobody is getting the newspaper anymore? Just last year, the circulation of many U.S. newspapers fell 5%, and this number is continuously dropping at alarming rates. Not to say that the media is not alive and well, but it’s just something to think about…
To stay up to date with current events, personally I am active in my school’s debate team, in which I attend tournaments where I compete alongside a teammate in a 2 vs. 2 debate. This is called Public Forum Debate, created by American media mogul and founder of CNN and TBS, Ted Turner. We debate against students from other schools on topics that change monthly for all students around the nation, all debating the same topic. They always are about current foreign and domestic policy involving our nation and others. Being involved in this really helps me stay up to date with what’s going on in the world.
Here’s a tip: Order Newsweek, New York Times, or any other newspaper that suits your fancy. Watch CNN, FOX, or NBC; no matter how biased or unbiased the media source is, it is still important to be knowledgeable, keep informed and be “in the know” of what’s going on in the country.
Your kids may not admit it, but many students really do feel like they would love to be able to partake in an intellectual discussion or debate with others about current events. Just today I had a raging but thoughtful conversation with friends at the lunch table in school over abortion rights and recent immigration laws. (FYI, we normally talk about normal kid stuff- this conversation was spurred by remarks made by another student in our history class.) It can really get fun and interesting at times, and it’s great to feel informed about your society and what’s actually going on behind the scenes in your country.
Matt Damon, who is actually very politically active and expresses his views widely, agrees about the importance of kids being a part of the political sphere, “This country is about participation, activism, understanding the history of the country, understanding your place in that history, being involved and being a productive part of the American experience.”
So go grab a Newsweek the next time you go to the supermarket, and if your kid digs it, sign up for a subscription. Remember that your kids are the future of this nation- and if they’re not involved, then who will be?