Sweet sixteen, as a coming-of-age milestone in the U.S, supposedly marks the transition from youth to adulthood. As I reflected on my thank-goodness-it’s-over teenage years of discomfort, anxiety and confusion, my thoughts wondered how I am different today than I was then. I wondered if the seeds of who I am now were planted then or if they were already engrained in my DNA from birth.
Then, I remembered an exhibit my friend Lucy and I saw at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City many years ago. The artist, whose name I can no longer remember, displayed photos of influential figures from history, accompanied by a photo of each as a child. This is a photo I took of the Hitler exhibit, him as a child and as a man.
The installation inspired so many thought-provoking questions:
If we could go back in time, how would we treat the baby Hitler, knowing what we know now?
When were the seeds of who he would became planted?
If we had that knowledge, what is our responsible as a society, or as individuals?
What are your thoughts? I would be interested to hear them, if you would share them with me. Thanks.