Letter to a Child Born Today

Yes, what would you say to new parents? Here is my answer: LETTER TO A CHILD BORN TODAY

In despair over his nation sliding into authoritarian rule, an 82-year old scientist writes a letter to a new-born child whose name he’s just read in the paper. His nation is the United States; his letter is what life has taught him about what this child can expect if she lives to her own 82nd birthday on March 21, 2100, during a global pandemic and our ongoing assault on the American Dream by people elected to preserve that dream and make it achievable for all. The letter takes two years to write and ends up a hundred pages long. From his memory of a mother crying, shoulders heaving, while listening to a broadcast of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and photographs from liberated Nazi death camps, to his knowledge of how infectious agents, including infectious words and ideas, spread through populations, he is able to envision this child’s life based largely on factors completely beyond her control. New parents rarely if ever consider the global forces that will have a major impact on their child’s life; but we live in a time when the world comes through our front doors whether we want that to happen or not. That world includes a virus—COVID-19—as well as the infective words of hatred, racism, dehumanization, and disdain for Mother Nature. On the day he starts to write, however, he tells her his hopes based on a teacher’s experience: “But like those other 360,000 babies born today, you have the potential to be a great artist, a great musician, a Nobel Prize winning scientist, the head of some multibillion-dollar company, a famous actor, a poet, a writer who influences the way all humanity reacts to its image in our collective mirror. That potential is my dream. So I decided to write you this long, long, letter.”