Youth & the New City

Imagine entering a city where youth involvement is a way of life. Where young people of all ages, from birth on up, have equal rights, equitable participation, and every other facet of an engaged life. What is life like in a city where every child and youth can vote, hold political offices, volunteer throughout the city, enter into financial contracts, teach any class they can teach, work by choice, learn from any activity that shows evidence of learning?

What are adults like in this city? Are they particularly passive or permissive or ignorant to allow this new city? Or is there a particular strength and wisdom that shines through? Does the knowledge of elders come from every adult: parent or teacher, garage worker or CEO, you are now a teacher, a coach, a guide, and a facilitator.

Does this way of life suggest an end to “bosses” or the beginning of dictatorship? What would happen in an all-inclusive democracy, where age knew no boundaries? What would the measure that allows participation be? Would young people even get engaged more? Would society stay more engaged over time? Or would irresponsiveness from political staleness lead to cynicism and apathy over a lifetime?

What are the downfalls to this thinking? What are the drawbacks, beyond the regular “Lord of the Flies” arguments, where kids go wild in the streets and destroy society? Our society is pretty different from this right now; is this a vision to move towards?

What is the downfall of utopian thinking? Where does hope border dreams, where realism becomes fantasy? When does the possibility for a better tomorrow come, and where does it come from?

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