Are we inspired yet? - Carolina Country

Are we inspired yet?

by Isaac Tuttle

By Isaac Tuttle

IsaacTuttle2“A person’s a person, no matter how small,” wrote Dr. Seuss in his 1954 book, “Horton Hears a Who!” An elephant named Horton finds a dust speck that has a world of people on it named Whos. The Whos need help protecting their town, Whoville. They realize that because they’re so small they must speak together to be heard.

In the end, “a very small shirker” helps to put their voices over the top: “They’ve proved they ARE persons, no matter how small. And their whole world was saved by the Smallest of ALL!”

No one expects our generation of “small shirkers” to be great. No one expects us to be passionate about anything, to improve our world or even our community. But we have an opportunity to prove them wrong. The question is: Do we care?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” People won’t care if people don’t know. Unless we inform people, we can’t expect them to care about what we care about.

Most of us did not care about our local co-op until we found out that we could get a scholarship or a free trip to D.C. But to prepare for this trip, I learned why I should care. Today we all know something about the history of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives. We have a new appreciation for them and how they benefit our communities. We are at Step Two of a three-step process.

  1. Information: We know what a co-op is and what it does.
  2. Inspiration: Some of us will care about what co-ops do.
  3. Involvement: Some of us will get involved, if there are opportunities.

Many in our generation have not yet reached Step One. They are not informed.

Social media?

Social media is great for inspiration and involvement, but social media should not be the primary tool for information. The best place for information is school. If co-ops participate in the schools of their area — in fourth grade North Carolina history, middle school social studies, high school American history — some kids would develop an interest. A half-hour lesson on what a co-op is could go a long way.

A cooperative may have an e-mail account, a Facebook page, an Instagram account, but it’s not about what accounts they have. Anyone with a smartphone can make an Instagram account. Co-ops should consider social media as just one of many avenues for their messages. Social media alone won’t inspire people.

Let’s say you go to rent a movie. You see “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Get Hard,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Fast 7,” “Big Hero 6,” “Pitch Perfect 2.” Then you spot one called “Whiplash” that you’ve never heard of. So you rent “Big Hero 6” for the third time. You don’t know that ”Whiplash” has won 16 internationally-recognized awards and could be the greatest movie of the year.

Social media has tons of articles, Vines and You Tube videos. You can share every meme, re-Tweet every inspirational quote, like every prom picture except for the ones with your ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend. When you are on Instagram and it’s “Woman Crush Wednesday,” and you are trying to figure out who is crushing on who, and if anybody be crushing on you, the last thing you care about seeing is a post from your local co-op. Right?

You don’t care, because you don’t know. You don’t even know what a co-op is, much less how the post might affect you personally. If, however, you are informed about your co-op you might not be so quick to skip right over it. You might even be motivated to get involved.

Horton learned about a need he hadn’t known about. He was inspired by the Whos. He could not watch without getting involved. If our cooperative hopes to achieve the same success, particularly with our generation, social media certainly is an important part. But Horton saw beyond the dust speck and saw friends. Co-ops should see that behind every Facebook post, Tweet or Instagram picture is a real person who must be informed before getting inspired, and must be inspired before getting involved.

About the Author

Excerpted from Isaac Tuttle’s remarks to North Carolina’s delegates on this year’s Youth Tour to Washington in his bid to be elected their representative to the national Youth Leadership Council. A representative of Blue Ridge Electric on the tour, he will be a senior at Hibriten High School in Caldwell County.

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