I was in the neighborhood barbershop the other day waiting to get my hair cut. While I was browsing through a magazine waiting for my turn in the chair, I heard a familiar voice on MSNBC talking about the posturing that was continuing between President Obama and the congress.
I was sitting in the young section of the shop. I call it that because that is the section where it seems that all of the young people – and me – get our hair cut. This young barber has been cutting my hair for a long time now and I must think highly of him because he always leaves this bald spot in the top of my head near the back but I keep going back to him anyway. He says that it’s a function of my age but I’m not so sure about that; I think maybe it’s a slip of the clippers. Anyway…
The TV in the young section was not on the same channel as the one in the other section so I moved to that section so that I could better hear and see what the commentator was saying about the president and the congress. It just so happened that there was a young man sitting in this section and he was talking to another waiting customer about his job in one of the local schools.
He talked about some of the challenges that he faced while growing up and the challenges of interacting with some of these young people. He talked with such passion that I stopped listening to MSNBC and began listening to him. He said that those who were educating and guiding these young people needed to work more diligently to better understand them so they could be more effective at mentoring them.
When the person that he was talking to was called for his turn in the chair of the young barber that always leaves the bald spot in my head, I struck up a conversation with this young man. By the time that I was called for my haircut, I had thoroughly vetted him and was convinced that he really cared about the young people at his school and wanted to see them become responsible citizens in their communities.
During the course of our conversation – and my uninvited listening excursion into the conversation between him and the other waiting customer, he talked about the importance of these young students being held to account for their actions, being eligible and responsible voters and being able to effectively communicate and resolve issues without resorting to violence. And on the occasions when violence did occur, being able to effectively communicate with one another after the fact in order to avoid any further violence.
By the time that I left the barbershop I couldn’t stop thinking about how refreshing it was to hear this young man talking about caring for and mentoring these young people rather than about how unpolished and prone to violence they were. I hope that all of the school districts will strive to hire more young men and women like him.
No matter our political affiliation, it is important that each of us do our part to assure that our school district has programs in place that will help assure the hiring, training and retention of competent, proactive, fair-minded educators. To do this we must place people with those qualities on our school boards. In order to do that, we must vote them in. So remember to value the franchise and always vote; not just in presidential elections.