Somewhere along the way I learned “utopia” was a bad word, along with other fru-fru-isms like “holistic” and “hope”. I think that came from the grating and grinding realities of daily youth work, which I partook in for more than 10 years. Today I have the privilage of distance and opportunity, which I use for reflection sometimes.
Recently in my reflections I came across a memory of Paulo Freire writing about the radical neccesity of envisioning utopia. The hard work many of us do everyday can rob us of opportunities to dream about the ideals we seek to realize through our work. If we are truly committed to transforming the roles of young people throughout society, each of us should create the time and space we need to really imagine what it is we are striving for.
Take a moment soon, right now if you can. What are your goals for youth involvement/engagement/voice/empowerment? Where do you want youth to go? What do you want to see adults do? How do you want to see democracy behave?
There are a lot of urgent needs in our collective and individual works. Those needs should not be ignored or dismissed. However, I challenge that we should take a moment to dream of the world we should live in. And then we should dream out loud, take action, and make the world into the place we want it to be. But this work begins with a dream. What’s yours?