Gladys Richardson, a children’s advocate, sent me this list that she dug up from her files. It’s from a meeting on early care and education that she attended in Maine in 2002. In a 10-minute brainstorm, people came up with ideas for what they wanted life to be like for young children and families in 2202 — 200 years in the future.
Here’s the list of 117 ideas. It strikes me that we have the smarts and technology to shorten that time frame a bit. How about in the next 5 years??
What do you think about these? If you’ve got more ideas, please add them in the comments. We’ll give them to the communities such as Tarpon Springs, FL, Port Townsend, WA, and Walla Walla, WA, to consider as they implement their plans to reduce and prevent adverse childhood experiences.
1) No more war.
2) Every child will have 10 adults who love them unconditionally for their whole life and they know it.
3) No child shall go hungry.
4) Early care and education is the most respected and highly paid profession.
5) Paid maternity and paternity leave for two years.
6) Every child is read to every day by a loving adult.
7) There are no financial constraints for families raising children anywhere.
8) Parents will be educated.
9) Each parent has the cultural and financial support to stay home full time for at least the first five years of their child’s life.
10)A safe environment where children are protected in homes and community.
11)Children and their families free from fear of violence.
12)Children with disabilities are just defined as children.
13)Only respect, no abuse.
14)Just because, with no logical reasoning, with no eligibility criteria attached, we, as a community, will happily provide nutrition, housing, education, health care, playtime for children.
15)Literacy will be a global phenomenon.
16)Clean air, water, and safe homes.
17)Substance abuse is obliterated from society.
18)Each child is nurtured to reach their fullest potential.
19)Children are born to couples who want them and who understand and take seriously their responsibility to nurture and love them.
20)Children find laughter in every day.
21)Freedom and equality for women and children worldwide.
22)There is no such thing as child protection services.
23)Every pregnancy is intended.
24)All children will be respected for their learning differences; all parents will know it is a lifelong journey.
25) Every early childhood professional is paid the same as every basketball, football, etc. national players.
26)Children learn how to creatively use free time.
27)Children are allowed to be children and given a rich experience in music, the natural world, and literature.
28)Children learn to sing together in many languages.
29)Education is free, for life.
30)Diversity is honored, not used to oppress.
31)Quality health and dental care available.
32)An old song will become a new version entitled “We have overcome.”
33)We have an understanding of, and healthy options for, children learning from other children.
34)There will be no more need for incarceration of children.
35)Adults will not lose their own child within.
36)Institutions make space for the soul.
37)Television use is limited if not absolutely banned.
38)Children are represented in all areas of governance, including town councils, city councils, state hours, Congress.
39)The media supports healthy and loving attitudes toward children.
40)Parents will have enough time.
41)No child will be raised in poverty.
42)Children will be respected as children.
43)All people have equal access to ample resources.
44)Our schools will be nurturing and safe.
45)Every pregnancy will be accepted; every infant will be nurtured; every child will be loved.
46)More lullabies and stories that pass along childcare wisdom and stories.
47)Children will be so valued that child-serving providers will be among the most highly-paid individuals.
48)The air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil we grow our food from, will be pure, clean, and free from neurotoxic chemicals.
49)Breastfeeding is the norm.
50)All children can be proud of their parents and families, whether gay of straight.
51)All children will love school.
52)Quality early care and education for all.
53)Parent education is embedded in K-post-secondary education.
54)Unbridled capitalism will not trample the needs of young children.
55)Universal design/access is the norm.
56)That we will have the knowledge, the wisdom, will, and resources to make this combined vision a reality.
57)The gifts, knowledge and time of our elders is matched with the needs of our youngsters.
58)There is no such thing as a latchkey kid.
59)Children’s voices will be heard.
60)Eating together as a family is a norm.
61)Maximize potential versus reasonable gain.
62)All people will have a meaningful relationship with God in the community of Faith.
63)Our schools will become the center of the community from birth to grave and each citizen will acknowledge their responsibility to nurture.
64)Institutions exist to support children and adult’s growth, not perpetuate themselves.
65)Children and young teens will not be sexualized for corporate profit.
66)All races, cultures, religions, sexual orientations, genders, ages and abilities will be truly respected.
67)Pharmaceutical companies won’t be running the treatment for children.
68)There will be no more homeless or abandoned children in the world.
69)Children will learn to deal with adversity in productive ways.
70)The John Lennon song “Imagine” come true.
71)Teachers will be highly respected, well compensated, and the educational system will support the individual learning styles of students – get rid of classrooms, desk- a whole new approach.
72)The educational system will teach to each child’s individual learning style.
73)That parents teaching children at home will be part of the social security system.
74)No more violent video games, toys and media for children.
75)Spiritual health will be neither neglected nor taboo.
76)Only the wisest adults will be policy-makers.
77)That Maine will lead the nation and the world promoting the health, well-being and education of children.
78)Every child will know their father.
79)No children will be sent to war.
80)The media in 200 hundred years is doing a great job representing families.
81)Inter-generational families will be common and children will respect elders.
83)Acknowledgement of the natural organic way children learn.
84)Conflict resolution is a core curriculum.
85)All new parents are mentored by elders and extended family.
86)Parents with special needs in particular mental health needs, are supported to be the caring loving parents they want to be.
87)Every small and large business will assure childcare for their employees.
88)There will be a focus on wellness in development and health care.
89)Self-esteem is used as a measure of success for children.
90)Focus on wellness.
91)Every child will be fully immunized with know pathogens in a noninvasive way.
92)Every family is wrapped in integrated seamless systems of support.
93)Knowledge will benefit society.
94)Attachment/relationships will be a priority for programs for infants and families, childcare programs and schools.
95)No more bullying.
96)Strong appropriate boundaries between childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
97)Every child born shall be wanted and celebrated.
98)Every human who wants a child shall have the means and support to raise that child into a healthy and prosperous adult.
99)The average work week will be shortened to 10 hours.
100) Subsidized child care for all under 5 years.
101) Quality and affordable childcare for all.
102) Because in 200 years, reality will still be fraught with problems, in every community, families will know where to turn for help, and help will be there.
103) All children will be loved and respected as individuals.
104) Wellness approach to mental health is a part of daily curriculum.
105) Our shadow side will be accepted and given creative expression without wreaking havoc.
106) No unfunded mandates.
107) There will be community-based and supported child/infant care centers where providers are trained, educated and nurturing for the needs and stimulation of infants and children.
108) Everyone has enough to eat.
109) We would ask children their vision in conversations like these!
110) That children continue to be challenged in a safe and nurturing way.
111) That food products available be based on their nutritional value – not profit value.
112) Children are full participants in our democratic society.
113) Children and adults listen to and trust the Inner Teacher.
114) That there will be a single state department for children and families.
115) Parents and teachers work lovingly together to raise children.
116) Geographic boundaries are permeable so all children and adults can honor diversity and difference.
117) The cycle of birth and death will be visible and in settings of people’s choices.
I believe that we need to become the voice of our children that have no advocacy or representation. I think until we somehow bring the parents to the table or hold them accountable to care for their children, we are going to wish for these events to happen. If we bring this into the political arena and call on our representatives to make this become a reality we will take one large step forward. Without their support, it stays on our wish list. For now, all of us who work with children with adverse childhood experiences, we need to model the love with a caring adult relationship. It’s time for implementation and action. For the time being, we need to be their advocate and voice. If not us, who?