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June 23, 2021

A Small Request

By now, you, a new high school graduate, probably feel as though
you’ve heard it all.
By now, you, a new high school graduate, probably feel as though you’ve heard it all.

The congratulations from family and friends. Teachers, counselors, and administrators speaking to you of a transition into something called “the real world,” or at least the next world you are passing into, whether it be a job or college.

In this issue of this newspaper is a special section honoring your accomplishment. You have been showered with praise and probably gifts.

But we want to pass on one small and annoying idea as you step into adulthood: Please pay attention.

Yes, you’ve heard this, probably daily, for four years. But this is different. This is not a lecture. This is not a drill. This is an idea. Take a little time to look out into the world, and pay attention to what you see. We need your help.

That’s right, we need your help. Your world, no matter how small or large you perceive it to be, needs some work. It is getting rough around the edges. It can use some care.

Take your hometown, for instance. Some of you will leave it, and you will now view it from a distance. From wherever you go, hopefully you will come to understand this: San Benito County is a rare blend of natural beauty and modern living.

Understand that your hometown will change. And that some will embrace the change and others will fight it. And that you can make your own choice as to where you stand. San Benito County will grow. There will be new homes and new people moving in. You can have a say about how this growth will take place. Or you can ignore all processes and let change occur in the hands of others. It is up to you. We hope you will pay attention to your hometown.

Your state can also use help. We won’t go into that much, but you may have noticed that the Golden State is getting run down. Our roads and schools, to name two things, could use work. Pay attention to what is getting done and what is not getting done. Form your own opinion on what we need.

Pay attention to the world. We understand this is big. For many of us, too big to feel we might have a say. Just know that there are wars and that people from your hometown are fighting in some of them, and that most of the rest of the world is insane about things like soccer and American movies. They all get connected.

One thing we do know for sure: it is easier to pay attention now than ever. You can pick up this newspaper and find out who was born, who died, who hit a home run, who got arrested, and who got elected in your town. You can log on to local blogs and read views of your town expressed in an entirely different manner. You can decide what is true for yourself.

And we are not, by the way, lecturing you to vote. From this newspaper to the blogs, adults are always pleading for citizens to vote. And they vote less than ever. We have reached the point in this country where people who vote are truly alternative thinkers. But we do hope you will give it serious consideration. Those votes, especially in your county, mean something.

We’re not asking much. Just pay attention. Keep an eye on things. Maybe express an opinion. Help someone out.

Whether you are moving on to college, or to a job, or to military service, or to traveling, just do all of us old people one small favor: pay attention. This world is small enough for you to do something about. 0

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