One of the first things I remember hearing from my first-grade teacher, was “Patt, pay attention!” Ok, so I did not always pay attention, but I find myself today wondering, does anyone really pay attention? There is so much to distract us, in addition to life itself, that it is a wonder we absorb what we do. The truth is we prioritize what is important to us and generally tune out the rest. The problem is when we do this, we tend to hear only the quick statements or read the short comments simply moving on to the next issue in our lives.
We take little time for real thought, discussion or consideration of a particular issue or event. If you think our lack of attention has gone unnoticed, think again.
Just look at the political environment today. Twitter, Snapchat, and other forms of social media that make up much of what we read and often include comments masked as fact. Those who work in this communication environment know our attention span is short and take advantage of it to pursue their own interest.
Ok, so what? Well over the next six months, there will be several important elections that will determine the future of our community for many years to come. The upcoming November 7th election on the school tax levy may be the most important local vote in a decade or more. The proposed tax levy will provide the necessary resources to improve public education and create the opportunity for a top-rated school district in St. Joseph. After the first of the year the City will hold elections for Mayor and City Council. It appears there will be many first-time candidates along with incumbents all looking to make a positive difference as an elected official.
It is important who is elected to these positions and understand what they want to accomplish to benefit the community. This lends itself to paying attention, asking questions and being informed. Lastly, there will be the election of three new School Board members in the spring. These leadership positions overseeing
the education of our children and the allocation of resources to provide excellent schools are important. Be knowledgeable, be informed and determine for yourself who is the best School Board candidates to earn your vote.
Yes, lots of distractions, but these important St. Joseph elections deserve, no, they demand your attention. Don’t rely on one-liners, silly ads or the rant of someone on social media. Pay attention to the issues and the candidates, understand what’s at stake, get the facts and make an informed vote. It’s hard to imagine that the simple lesson that I learned in first grade could have so much importance today. Pay attention, it matters!