In his last book Buckminster Fuller began by saying, “Dear reader, traditional human power structures and their reign of darkness are about to be rendered obsolete.” That time is now. I am convinced that our society is on course to complete nothing less than a complete re-envisioning of the roles of young people. The conundrum of relying on children and youth to be complacent, apathetic, and relegated recipients of adult problems is about to be solved. The time of insisting “young people are the future” and naming them the “torchbearers” of society is going to end. I honestly hope that young people today do not bear the torch apparent in the suffering of our world today. The crisis of purpose and possibility that I have seen apparent in institutions throughout our communities, with their uniquely oppressive relationships to young people, is about to be solved.
For several years I have been beating around the bush about what this change looks like. When I first designed The Freechild Project I intended to upset the service learning and youth service communities by standing their efforts next to those of youth activists across the countries. I saw the different practices forming a seemless continuum of imperfect yet hopeful possibilities for youth engagement. Afterwards I took aim at the education system, working to re-envision opportunities for students en masse through SoundOut. These two projects, combined with my trainings and speaking engagements and consulting opportunities, have allowed me a great deal of access to real-life examples where the roles of young people are actually in evolution throughout our society.
My analysis is beginning to crystalize, and I no longer have the need or want to marinate on it any longer. After this week I am ready to begin to speak words to truth. I have to thank Melia, Dana, Jonah, Elizabeth, Scott, Jake, Chris, Shawn, Fred, Melissa, Greg, Wendy, Thaddeus and Mishaela. And for you, dear reader, get ready – here I come.
“The Things to do are: the things that need doing, that you see need to be
done, and that no one else seems to see need to be done. Then you will conceive
your own way of doing that which needs to be done — that no one else has told
you to do or how to do it. This will bring out the real you that often gets
buried inside a character that has acquired a superficial array of behaviors
induced or imposed by others on the individual.” – Buckminster Fuller