Boy’s 2016 predictions from 20 years ago are adorably astute

Every once in a while, kids bring a project home from school that’s so precocious, hilarious or noteworthy that you just know you have to keep it for posterity. One such assignment came home in Christopher Janitz’s backpack 20 years ago, a handwritten paper titled Twenty Years from Today, so his mom held on to it until the time was right. Yesterday, when her son turned 29 years old, she sent it to him.

We’re glad she did, because the note, which contains 9-year-old Christopher’s predictions for 2016 way back in 1996, has quickly gone viral, which means we all can enjoy how adorable, hilarious and kind of eerily spot on it is. Janitz wrote his predictions as part of a third-grade assignment that’s pretty standard fare: Try to imagine what the future will be like.

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Janitz didn’t know that his mom held on to the note, but she did for sentimental reasons that will elicit commiserative “awww”s from any mom who’s dug one of these things out of a backpack and rescued it from the recycling bin. “After giving it to me, she told me that she had kept it in a drawer hidden away,” he told ABC. “She would take it out every now and then and read it to put a smile on her face.”

Awwwww. See?

The note itself just screams third-grade boy and looks hopefully toward a time when cars fly and robot cops protect the streets. What’s especially cool about the note, though, are some of the predictions that aren’t far off at all. We are living in the world of tomorrow, today!

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Here’s a little list of what I think we can all agree are borderline psychic predictions from the past-Janitz:

  • “There will be robot policemen and cashiers and other types of people.” Totally. The new McDonald’s self-serve kiosks are proof of that.
  • “There won’t be normal desks the desks will be like a computer with a weird kind of pencils.” We’re calling this one thanks to iPads and Wacom tablets and their respective styluses.
  • “In 2016 I will be 29 years old…” Spooky.
  • “The DALLAS COWBOYS will never win the Super Bowl again in NFL history.” So far, true. Also, great job with the proper nouns there, past Christopher.
It’s so cool that he has this little scrap of his past to pull out every once in a while now to reflect on a time when pretty much anything — even flying cars — seemed possible. It’s always kind of poignant to come across something from your past that you weren’t even sure you still had, and it’s so great that Janitz’s mom had the foresight to hang on to this for so long, knowing it might also bring a smile to her son’s face one day too.

If we attempted to hang on to every single thing our kids hauled home from school, we’d all be drowning in paper, magazine collages, mystery science goo and worksheets. Some of it just has to go, and it isn’t always easy to make the “keep it or toss it” call. But once in a while, you unearth a little treasure like this, and you just know. Those are the ones you carefully smooth out and set aside and pull out over and over again like a personal time machine.

They’re the ones that bring you right back to a moment when your kids were littler, full of wonder and brimming with imagination and excitement. That’s when a third-grade assignment goes from a worthless piece of loose-leaf to a priceless keepsake.

And hey, nothing says you can’t make your own! You and your kids could sit down tonight and write letters to their future selves before you put them carefully away to be pulled out and treasured a decade or two from now. It’s one childhood scribble you won’t regret keeping.