It’s been years since I’ve heard my own, or any other neighborhood for that matter, alive with the sounds of children. It’s not a subject much discussed, perhaps in large part due to the lack of adults outside to notice. The streets of the small city I live in are barren. On any given day I step outside to find a world more similar to the beginning of an apocalyptic movie than any of us might have imagined possible. But it is, and it’s the world we live in now, as evidenced by study after study documenting American life in the 21st Century. Suffice it to say, studies of ourselves indicate that we are overweight, lonely, inside, staring at screens, drowning in piles of our own possessions, and pumped full of drugs, pharmaceutical or otherwise. Our children, it seems, have become captives to our poor choices, and they are suffering for it. They face starting life obese, with less curiosity, attention span and motor skills than any previous generation, a predicament that is showing its impact in high rates of depression and suicide in teens and shorter life expectancies overall. A predicament, that research shows can to some large part be addressed with one simple action- send them outside. Send them out, allow them to move around and interact in real space, fill the air with the sound of them, the sound of hope.