The Collegian
Monday, May 16, 2022

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Kids say the darndest things - Why not join them?

New semester, new year, new decade. Thanks to the way we divide and package time, we have three fresh starts, which in our culture have the tendency to beckon reflections, resolutions and ruminations.

Some may logically argue that these new periods hold no meaning, because the sun rises and sets the same from day to day. But arbitrary or not, our tendency to become quickly wound into our silly little worlds could only benefit from a bit of meditation. Especially at Richmond, where "syllabus week" did not ease us back into school with a parade of parties as on other campuses, we could use a little refocusing before we board the speeding sidewalk of courses, internships and jobs, and wake up to greet the next decade as 30-year-olds.

Forty may be the new 20, and any professors, parents and grandparents reading this might be snickering about our infancy. But I'm in no rush for 2020, despite it being one of my favorite shows as a child. So to mix some silliness into the seriousness of another semester closer to the real world, I've extracted my favorite excerpts from a recent feature in The Philadelphia Inquirer starring children's predictions for the decade:

"In 10 years you will see monkeys wearing dresses and being maids." - Jamila, 9

"In the future we will almost have world peace but not the whole way. We would have a creation to help us communicate with animals. We will have a trombone case that has wheels, so I don't have to carry it all the time." - Jonny, 12

"Robots will take over the world. They will have lasers." - Jacob, 9

"In a decade I think that the time machine will be invented. Maybe somebody will make a new ice cream flavor and the government will find a way to stop pollution. They will also make a machine to control the seasons. After, there would be a candy that makes you shrink. Astronauts would land on Mars and explorers would find new types of fish. They would also discover a new Arctic animal and a new island." - Guille, 8

"There may not be any blue sky." - Annie, 11

"In the next decade, I expect there to be no real changes in our American lifestyle, except for higher speed of communications and maybe longer battery life and better reception. However, these technologies only serve to streamline our gas-guzzling, high-speed, Internet-connected lives." - Rafi, 16

"... I don't think there will be a flying car, which is just unreasonable." - Ori, 9

"In one decade, global warming will be stopped. The earth will go back to its regular temperatures, so cold places will be cold and people living around the equator won't get overheated. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will either stop or get better, meaning close to gone. The troops will come back to the U.S.A. Someone will have invented a machine that paints a perfect portrait of whoever is standing in front of it." - Molly, 8

"Cancer will be cured. ... We will have a female president. ... New species will be found, maybe even a fanged bunny." - Julia, 9

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"I think all of the animals will be dead in 10 years because America is polluting too much. People who aren't married won't have dogs, cats, fish or any other type of house animal." - Lexi, 8

"In 2020 I think there will be recess on top of roofs, polar bears will be extinct, and every movie will be 3-D." - Laquan, 13

"We will live in a world of pure luxury with computers programmed by human thoughts. We will have no racism, no crime, no need for anyone to take people to court, no need for divorce. There would be no end to happiness. The poor would be welcomed into newly built homes without hesitation. Rich people would donate to every charity known. We would find a cure for every disease." - Summer, 11

"I think there will start to be vacation resorts in outer space and vegan fast food chains." - Avital, 10

"... The whole world might be so crowded that you will have to struggle out of buildings. It will be crowded because all kinds of new babies will grow." - Annie, 7

"With the current economic downfall throughout America, I don't think the world will be a very happy place. With all the fuels burning in the air and deteriorating the ozone layer, the seasons may come a lot later or much earlier than they are supposed to. Some of the countries or states that are close to water will become completely engulfed with the melting ice caps. Many important species will become extinct. The price of most everyday household products may rise to very high costs and the people won't be being paid to accommodate that." - Claudia, 12

"I predict that the Minnesota Vikings will win the Super Bowl in February 2010. In 2012 the Miami Dolphins will win the Super Bowl. Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco will change his name to Chad Ochosiete after he is traded from Cincinnati and forced to change his number. Philip Rivers will be the greatest quarterback since Dan Marino to never win a Super Bowl. In baseball, the Washington Nationals will make the playoffs by 2017. The Yankees won't win another championship this decade. Dan Uggla will win MVP in 2015. Ichiro Suzuki will break Pete Rose's all-time hits record." - Billy, 11

"Everybody will have a jet pack." - Dylan, 7

In addition to the sheer amusement of the predictions - as well as the strange preoccupation with animals and obvious exposure to global warming in science class - what struck me was the unique mix of silly and sobering comments that could only be the products of 10-year-olds. A mix I think we'd be wise to recover.

Some encouraging examples of this mix, collected during the first week back on campus, show it's possible: the soon-to-be-abroad student electing to spend his free time attending Richmond classes ... for fun; the girl carrying the likes of Freud and Calc V in a plastic Spiderman backpack; the freshman opting to make friends by knocking on random apartment doors looking for parties alone rather than blacking out for brotherhood; my roommate punctuating dense B-School readings with her baby videos; and evenings sipping wine from the comfort of my new Snuggie.

I'm not saying get as silly as Pat Robertson, the televangelist from the great state of Virginia whom the media has recently crucified for attributing Haiti's earthquake to its people's deal with the devil in order to gain independence from France. But I think Jamila, Jacob, Jonny and company teach us that there is something healthy about thinking outside the box, even if jet packs, giant babies and fanged bunnies are nowhere in sight.

Because it's usually the most outlandish of thinkers and magnets for public ridicule - Copernicus, Einstein, Galileo - who turn out to be right, I'd rather entertain every crazy idea than find myself the one being notified, "I told you so." If only to never get bored.

My predictions for the new decade include major changes in the way we think, live and prioritize. Whether you buy the 2012 hype, recent natural disasters and national downfalls leave the impression that Earth is trying to purge itself of something. Maybe not a pact with the devil per se, but is our less-than-saintly behavior around the world so different? Maybe it's not the end times but the end-as-we're-familiar-with-it times.

And if that's true, then I'm with Summer, and maybe Avital, looking forward with an open mind to something serious, silly and new, and welcome you to do the same.

Contact opinion editor Maura Bogue at maura.bogue@richmond.edu

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