Children dream without boundaries; they aspire to become paleontologists, astronauts, doctors and teachers without considering socioeconomic barriers, discrimination, disease outbreaks, violence or any one of a host of other challenges impacting their likelihood of success. It’s up to us, as a society, to help each and every child fulfill his or her potential. In fact, the future of our nation depends on it.
On Friday, January 15, we spoke with Dr. Irwin Redlener, author of “The Future of Us: What the Dreams of Children Mean for Twenty-First-Century America” about the obstacles facing children today, including inadequate education, barriers to health care and crushing poverty—all of which make it overwhelmingly difficult for many children to realize their dreams.
Redlener is a pediatrician, author, president emeritus and cofounder of Children’s Health Fund, and founding director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. His new book follows Redlener’s winding career, from his work as a pediatrician in the Arkansas delta, to treating child abuse in a Miami hospital, to helping children in the aftermath of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.
These stories are his springboard for discussing larger policy issues that hinder us from effectively eradicating childhood poverty and overcoming barriers to accessible health care. Persistent deprivation and the avoidable problems that accompany poverty ensnare millions of children, with rippling effects that harm the health, prosperity, and creativity of the adults they become. Redlener argues that we must drastically change our approach to meeting the needs of children—for their sake and to ensure America’s resiliency and influence in an increasingly complex and challenging world.
See the interview live on the Chesapeake Family Facebook page Friday, January 15 at Noon or on this page thereafter.
Listen to more Third Floor Views interviews on topics including talking about race, stress management and more.