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Dads2Dads: Children can be agents of change

Tom Tozer and Bill Black • Updated May 8, 2016 at 8:00 PM

Recently a judge ruled that 17-year-olds could vote in Ohio if they turned 18 before the end of the year. A few weeks ago, we featured a young lady in Mt. Juliet who organized an anti-bullying club in her high school, which has had a positive effect on students. High school youngsters all over are volunteering to feed the hungry, help senior citizens, and read to children, not because of a school assignment but because the needs of the world are tapping into their altruistic nature. Young people want to be engaged in their community, and we adults need to open doors of opportunity for them.

Time for fresh ideas

So often we think that adolescents ignore the real world and lose themselves in their world of make believe. Many do, of course, because we have provided the technology to distract them from the real world. But many more young people are waking up to the fact that adults have not done a great job of leaving a better real world for them. It may well seem to them that grown-ups don’t know how to make things better or have lost the will to do so. Many of us grown-ups are convinced of it. The question often comes up: Will my children inherit a better world? Perhaps not.

What can we adults do to make amends? We can start by empowering our children to think of themselves as agents of change. Already young people contribute billions of dollars to the economy with dollars they themselves have earned. If we trust them to invest in the future, they will create real and lasting change. The world is yours—make it a better home for everyone, we must tell them.

For the good of all

We may need youthful brainpower to invent newer processes or products. But just as much we need our kids to pour their energies into ways for people to come together, to respect one another’s differences and work together for the good of all. There’s an expression that represents a fascinating blend of naiveté and courage, and it goes something like this: We accomplished the impossible because we didn’t know we couldn’t. Old rules do not lead to a new vision. 

Celebrate our humanity

Laws influence actions, but they do not change thinking. The only way for human beings to examine their own prejudices toward other people—hopefully leading to a positive transformation—is to open up and get to know one another. It’s hard to hate someone who is more like you than not like you. Courageous parents, those secure in their own skins, have dared to challenge their sons and daughters to be independent thinkers, even dreamers. Hey, parents, we must usher our kids through those doors of opportunity and let them lead the way to a new reformation.

Our children have the capacity to alter the future for the common good. We should encourage, challenge and empower them to do so.

Tom Tozer and Bill Black are authors of “Dads2Dads: Tools for Raising Teenagers.” Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @dads2dadsllc. They are available for workshops. Contact them at tomandbill@dads2dadsllc.com.

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