We are on the precipice of another major election. Politics and partisanship aside, I encourage you to vote – it is a symbol of citizenship and an expression of your values. But I’d also like to encourage you to engage in your community. Civic engagement has been on the decline and it's time for us to reconnect and reengage.
To me, civic engagement simply means taking actions that make a positive difference in our communities that improve our collective quality of life. We can make a difference in our communities without the overlay of politics or partisanship. Clean a park, help a neighbor, attend a school board meeting, join a neighborhood group, attend a hearing… these are all ways to increase our understanding of local issues, make new connections, and, well, help each other out a bit.
In my past, I struggled to maintain a consistent level of civic engagement. There were times I was very engaged and times when I vanished from the local scene – mainly because I looked at civic engagement as “another thing” to juggle with parenthood and my job. But I’m learning a lot from my wife and daughter. They intertwine civic engagement into their daily lives. It isn’t a separate thing – it is just one thing. And, as you lean in more, you build new insight, understanding, and relationships that cascade across all parts of your life.
Why do I think civic engagement is critically important?
- It helps heighten social awareness. Working on any issue helps bring things into much clearer definition. That, in turn, elevates the conversation and brings everyone closer to effective solutions.
- Civic engagement fosters cultural and social interaction. Working alongside others, especially those outside your typical cohort, exposes you to points of view, opinions and experiences you might not normally be exposed to
- It strengthens the fabric of our community. By playing an active role in our community, we are naturally more engaged in protecting, respecting and bettering our social structures. When we play an active role in our civic society, we are more engaged in maintaining it.
I do encourage you to vote on Tuesday – but let’s not stop there. Let’s put something on the calendar later this week as well. Consider what new things you can get into in your neighborhood, city, county or state. What new learnings are possible? What new relationships will you form?
Point B is a proud member of Time to Vote, a nonpartisan, business-led movement seeking to increase voter participation across the U.S.