How Do We Have a Democratic Heart?

(This is a brief reflective essay on a web-inar I recently attended at my university.)

      Democracy from the Inside Out

Aside from the technical inconveniences, I enjoyed listening to the program. However, I did feel the dialogue from Dr. Palmer began rather dryly. I was engaged in his main points –the explication of the “five habits of the heart” provided on our handouts, but I still felt like a kid in an eighth-grade assembly featuring a motivational speaker, then I had a little epiphany.
Except for the young woman on the discussion panel, every other speaker was two generations removed from me. This led me to answer the first question for reflection. A heartache for me is that our young voices are not being utilized enough for these kinds of constructive discussions. There are recent displays of these voices (the Occupy Wall Street protests), at the moment, but some of the best young minds that are out there now could be on the campuses of their alma maters or in their communities on foot, working to minimize the issues that threaten the possibility of a better future for all. A hope is that my generation has a greater representation in live webcasts/discussions like Democracy from the Inside Out, as both speakers and audience members.

More importantly, I’d like to see us channel our energy and talents into building and strengthening relationships in our local communities through service. A great program that our students can put their talents to work in is Freedom Readers, a non-profit organization serving children through one-on-one literacy tutoring. Any efforts made by our English, Business, Education, Communication, and Political Science majors (to name a few) that participate in Freedom Readers can inspire younger minds to read more, save pennies, keep up with current events and become activists for changes needed in their society. Time investments in community efforts such as Freedom Readers will always instill and develop the “five habits of the heart” to those in need of them, and I’d say “millennials” desperately need these investments to be made.

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