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Our Future First

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If you follow me on TwitterInstagram, or Facebook, chances are you have seen my usage of #OurFutureFirst, but what does it mean? What and who does it apply to? Why am I using it when posting about political, global, and educational issues? What is the point?

I came up with the phrase “Our Future First” when discussing politics and life with my good friend and mentor Marlena Gross-Taylor. We were trying to create a slogan for a potential political campaign that would be inclusive while signalling our intent to focus on the future of our country and our world. I suggested these three words and we immediately knew that we had something.

Our

Looking at our political world, the words we see most often used to describe each other is “us” and “them”. On their own, these two words do not have significant power; however, they are typically joined with the preposition “versus”. This connecting word provides all the context and power needed, or not needed.

I have tried many times to understand this divide, but I cannot. Sure, we are all different. You have your beliefs and views about religion, government, education, economy, foreign policy, immigration, civil rights, and everything else while I have mine. Do our beliefs make us different people? Are we not biologically the same with slightly different personal perspectives?

Of course we are the same. We all want to feel loved, to provide for our families, and to have our slice of the American Dream. After all, as Americans we are afforded  the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Then why do we allow this political world to divide us? Why do we identify as Democrat or Republican and let all the other common factors that unify us fall by the wayside? How do we climb out of the chasm that our government has thrown us in with this system?

We begin by recognizing that this is OUR country. We elect our representatives and they swear to represent OUR best interests. We fight for what is best for OUR future and accept nothing less.

Future

For some reason, there is never a lot of talk about the future at a political level. The focus typically centers on improving the present or short-term future. When our attention is on what is directly in front of us, we miss the bigger picture.

Everything that we do, must take our future into consideration. How will this decision impact the environment, the economy, national security, education, and other areas in the future? Will there be negative or possible consequences to these actions? How will we handle the results of our decisions and actions?

As educators, we work with the future every single day. There are few people who understand the future better than educators. Our daily interactions require us to drive their development into better people and leaders. We know that the future of this world is in the hands of our students and our task is to prepare them to lead us into that place.

This is not a task that we take lightly; rather, it is something that we take great pride and responsibility in. Without dedicated and passionate educators, the future of the world is incredibly bleak. We devote countless hours, resources, and energy to our students because we believe in their ability to grow. The more they grow and develop, the better chance our world has of growing and developing.

When we genuinely consider the effects of our decisions on the future, our youth, we can make more informed decisions. When we move away from temporary fixes to long-term solutions in favor of making our world a better place, everyone wins. After all, doing what is best for our kids almost always coincides with preserving and improving our future.

First

No matter what we do, it seems there is always something that we have to wait for. We have all heard it at one point. We come up with a great idea, present it to our boss or political representative and hear that it has to wait. For whatever reason, we are not being placed first and our ideas and thoughts are not the most important. That stops now.

In our current world, there is always something that stops progress from being at the forefront of discussion and decisions. It is now that we stand up and demand that our future be first. It is time we advocate for ourselves and our world before anything else.

This means that we come before lobbyists, special interest groups, big corporations, politicians focused on personal gain, and everything else. No more excuses.

Our Future First

This is a movement, not just a political campaign slogan. When dealing with the current political spectrum, this mantra will be at the forefront of our minds.

Over the next year and a half and after, this mentality will be my focus. I dedicate myself to forming connections and building relationships with people, despite their current political belief system. As Covey says, “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.” This is one of the most powerful tools, we as human beings, possess. We must actively listen to others, acknowledge their point of view, and learn from other perspectives to create meaningful change.

Forming a united front, with a strong, clear message is more critical than what our professions or backgrounds are. Please join the movement and share the hashtag across social media and beyond. Together, we will create real change. Together, we  have a voice. Together,  we will put Our Future First.

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Born and raised in Cumberland County, New Jersey, Sean not only has remained, but has continued to grow with his community. He now resides in the same county with his wife and their two young sons. Sean currently serves as an administrator at Camden’s Promise Charter School, where he focuses on the professional development of teachers and building various social-emotional skills with students. Graduating from Rutgers University with an undergraduate degree in Communication as well as a graduate degree from the University of Scranton in Educational Administration helped open the doors to what has now become nearly a decade long career in education.


 


 


 


As a result of connecting with people everyday of all ages, ethnicities, cultures and beliefs, Sean has learned how to listen and meet the individualized needs of different groups of people. In order to help organize parents and educators to come together in academic spaces, it has required him to search for innovative, functional, and inclusive ways to solve problems.


 


 


 


Despite Sean's childhood aspirations of one day becoming an attorney, he has since become an unwavering advocate for positive youth development and education. Growing up, Sean experienced difficulty financially and emotionally in an unstable household while also battling a sometimes crippling learning disability (ADHD). School became both a place of refuge and a source of trouble for Sean. If not for certain teachers and school faculty encouraging him as a young person, he would not have pursued higher education and would not have been able to impact countless students the way he does today.


 


 


 


Throughout his career as an educator in New Jersey, Sean has based every decision solely on what is best for youth and their futures. He has worked to create new, effective programs as well as supports for students and parents addressing social issues. Sean has demonstrated his student-first approach by never being afraid to privately and publicly question decisions that impact teachers, students, and the educational process. As a result, he has been able to create strong, lasting relationships across our state with the students, families, and communities that he has served.


 


 


 


As a leader in education, Sean has rooted his success in incorporating three major values that he applies to every facet of his life: honesty, integrity, and transparency. All great leaders exhibit honesty regardless of how difficult a situation may be. In these times, we need someone who will honor the trust of their constituents, despite possible backlash. Sean has displayed his commitment to integrity by maintaining a strong moral basis in all decisions, never being swayed by personal gain, and combating corruption wherever it exists. Transparency is also something that is not frequently witnessed in politics. Without it, it is easy for elected officials to lose touch with the people they serve. Having worked in education, Sean understands the power of collective responsibility while encouraging collaboration and the inclusion of diverse opinions to impact change. His unique background matched with his life experiences have allowed him to truly understand the struggles and needs of so many American people.


 


 


 


As the next United States Congressman from the state of New Jersey, Sean promises to apply the most effective policies to positively influence the collective growth of all New Jerseyans and Americans. He intends to only put the best interests of his constituents, state, and country first, regardless of how unpopular that may make him within the political machine. This is how we give politics, power, and our country back to the people. This is how we place our future first.

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Guest Thursday, 21 September 2017