Kids Who Dream Big – Vote Me Your Mayor

Would you vote an 18 year old to the school board? Did you even know that an 18 year old could run for public office?  What about voting a 20 year old to be your mayor?

Jason Pollock, film-maker, writer, activist and twitter fanatic (@Jason_Pollock) just released a movie called “The Youngest Candidate” in partnership with Oscar winning producer Lawrence Bender (“Inconvenient Truth” and “Pulp Fiction”), Worldwide Pants (David Letterman’s Studio) and Balance Vector Productions.  Here’s the trailer:

The film is about the few remarkable teenagers who have the passion to run for public office despite their youth, inexperience, and the cynicism directed towards them.  This documentary follows four boys and girls who are coming of age through the electorial process.  It captures their exuberant enthusiasm, unbending idealism, and the unfettered passion of youth.  These brave young politicians face ridicule on every front, but persevere through to election day.

The topic that Pollock covers in this documentry is fascinating, but what I find even more intriguing is the preciousness of unbriddled optimism, passion, and idealism that comes with youth.  Those of us who are able to maintain this through the curve balls that life throws our way are the ones who will be able to rise beyond ourselves.  Unfortunately, these qualities are often beaten out of us by life circumstances or by well and not so well meaning adults well before we enter our teens.

As a first time entrepreneur chasing after a dream, I find myself identifying in many ways with these young passionates.   Before starting Trekaroo slightly over a year ago when we decided to jump in with two feet, our hearts, our paycheck, and bank account, I couldn’t even begin to imagine the merciless challenges that would face us daily as entrepreneurs.   Without the same unbriddled optimism that these teens possess to face the seemingly insurmountable, we would have given up even before launching Trekaroo.  Recession or no recession, being an entrepreneur is both the most exhilarating and nerve wrecking thing I’ve ever done in my life.  It is also a journey our family could never have persevered along without family and friends.  Family who have indulged our dreams, sometimes blindly, but most of the time by biting back their fears and instead choosing to help us.

As parents, most of us want our children to believe that they can accomplish anything.  We offer countless words of encouragement starting when our little ones can barely rollover.  We make personal sacrifices to ensure that our kids receive an education that puts them in good standing on the path to success.  Some of us practically sell our souls to provide our children with every opportunity to discover their unique talents and passions. At the same time, we also have a strong urge to shield them from any disappointment, ridicule, failure, and poverty.  Essentially, we tell our kids to reach for the sky but as soon as we think the sky is too high, we pull down heavy rain clouds to drown out their dreams. What a paradox!

When I picture myself as a parent to one of these young candidates, I just know that I’d be the one trying to adjust my child’s expectations or attempting to talk him into a smaller dream.  Of course, failure is painful. But as with most jourynes, it’s not the final desitnation that matters most, rather it’s about the lessons we learn on the road through struggling and overcoming challenges. The faith to embark on new and unknown journeys is something we are born with, but it is delicate. I believe that as parents, we should take great care to guard it.

“…we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope…” Romans 5:3

About the author

LiLing Pang is Co-founder and CEO of Trekaroo . She is a mom to two boys and a girl and recently traveled through Central America. Together with her husband, Brennan Pang, they hatched the idea of Trekaroo one summer day along the California coast while searching for the best kid-friendly tide pool near La Jolla with their curious 2 and a half year old.
1 Response
  1. Bridget Smith

    I love this post!!! At that age I was very politically aware and involved in the California YMCA Model Legislature and Court program (awesome BTW, would recommend it to any parent of a teenager). I remember running for Speaker of the Assembly and being soundly trounced. Still it was a watershed moment for me. It taught me alot about how to take failure gracefully, and how even if you lose your journey has benefitted you and others so it’s worth the journey. I was so touch that one YMCA believed in me so much they block voted for me…amazing!

    I think that we as adults need to encourage youth participation in the democratic process in all forms.

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