IMAGINE Magazine-Spring2016 - Page 8

serious. Though it probably doesn’t feel that way to them, these young people are hard at work practicing empathy, community, citizenship, collaboration, inclusion, conflict resolution, leadership, and more. This is a Playworks playground, a recess program created by Jill Vialet to make play a critical part of every child’s school day. Jill is one of many leading social entrepreneurs around the world helping society shift the way we think about young people and the growing up experience. Making this shift is urgent. An accelerating rate of change in the world has begun transforming traditional power structures, opening the way for millions to participate in society in a way that they could not before. From the end of slavery and colonization, to the rise of democracy, the women’s and civil rights movements, and the current technological revolution—which has unleashed ideas and initiatives from people from every corner of the globe—we are witnessing the flattening of hierarchies and diffusion of power from the hands of a small elite to those of every individual. While this process is by no means complete, in large part because some people still use their own power to suppress that of others, the door has opened to a future where every person can create change. We all stand on the front lines of the social challenges that emerge every day. We don’t have to wait and hope that our elected representatives or corporate leaders or other powers that be make the right choices. In fact, society cannot afford for us to wait. We are each powerful, and outcomes depend on us. But a world of rapid change can be a complex landscape to navigate. 8 IMAGINE l SPRING 2016 In the past, we had hierarchies and institutions that—for better or worse— kept society organized. Today we live in a more decentralized world. We all need initiative, confidence and good decision-making skills, as we often have no one above us to tell us what to do. We need to be able to prioritize important information and actions in a world of information overflow and ambiguity. We need to be comfortable working in collaborative environments. We already see the world’s leading companies clamoring for To flourish both as individuals living up to our potential and as a society that benefits from the potential of every individual, we must empower ourselves and our young people as changemakers, individuals equipped to drive positive change—in their own lives, in their communities, in th ȁ̰ѡݽɱ((