When I was about 10 or so, give or take a couple years, my younger sister and I came up with a brilliant idea. It was a lazy summer day at our grandparents’ farm and we were looking for something interesting to do. The soil at the farm was not really soil at all, but sand, and there was a spot in the yard, by the field, where my sister and I were permitted to dig for small treasures. Occasionally, we would find little fossils or peculiar rocks, pieces of metal, and fish bones. Other times, we would draw pictures in the sand or add buckets of water to build elaborate sandcastles and sculptures. Well, our brilliant idea that day was to bury a time capsule in our sandy haven.
For some reason, this was immensely appealing to both of us, and we devoted several hours to the endeavor. We both were responsible for writing letters about what it was like for people living in 1998. My sister and I both had pretty grand ideas about who would be discovering this time capsule, and we were convinced that by the time it was discovered, the world would be vastly different. I clearly remember writing about trees. It went something like this: “Dear Person Who Discovers This Time Capsule, The year is 1998. In 1998, we have trees. But people are cutting them down a lot to make paper and by the time you read this, there probably won’t be any left. Trees are made of wood…” You get the idea. I so desperately wanted to preserve the idea of trees for the Treeless Future People who would be reading my time capsule note, that I spent most of the note droning on and on about how to distinguish one kind of tree from the next, what trees grew in what areas of the world, a detailed and very scholarly (for a 10 year old) explanation of the rainforest, etc.
All of this time capsule nostalgia leads me to my point. Change happens, and even as a 10-year-old, I recognized that the world I grew up in wouldn’t necessarily be the world that people in the future would know. As humans, we expect change. We try to prepare for inevitable change. We are agents of change. There is so much criticism and confusion surrounding the way that the state handles funding for individuals with disabilities. There is a call for change, a new structure, a new system, improvements, clear guidelines, and efficiency. If we were to take a snapshot of the current political, social, and economic climate for those with disabilities and preserve it for future generations in a time capsule, what would this look like? Furthermore, what advice can we offer future generations? What hopes would we have for the future world with regard to life for individuals with disabilities?