Gregory Sale used these questions when facilitating the Future IDs workshops. The Future Planning Curriculum (also found on this website) contains an abbreviated list of questions, and was developed by Gregory Sale for use by other teaching artists working in prisons and, in some cases, for mailing directly to incarcerated individuals.

Future Planning

Every child is asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” For many of us, we lost the opportunity to fulfill that childhood dream. But that doesn’t mean we still don’t have the desire to become something that redefines who we are. So I ask, what do you want to be when you grow up? What ID do you want to be carrying in the future?

— Kirn Kim, core project collaborator

The Future Planning session will begin with a listening and writing exercise to set a framework for future planning and get solid in our professional or life choices. We will introduce an exercise Gregory uses with his university art students to help them uncover the center of their art practice: based in identifying early childhood passions and favorite play, we will consider what was modeled at home or in life while growing up. Then we will review a Life Planning and Goal Setting Workbook that helps with setting short-term and long-term goals, core values, and basic action plans.

Past workshops participants have discussed the bravery required of formerly incarcerated persons to aspire to professions that some might consider impossible to achieve. Others, with expansive lists of possibilities for their future selves, focused on one revenue-earning job for the purposes of this project. Some, whose future goals had not crystallized yet, but who planned to get job training or go to college, decided to make student IDs.

Please pull out paper and pen or your phone or computer. Somewhere where you can take notes.

1. Write down 3 to 5 things that you loved to do as a child. Not a teenager but as a child. Whatever that might be. Playing with your buds. Being outdoors. Watching videos. Did you read by yourself? Did you have dolls? Whatever it is.

You may have had rough times and things may have been going on. But just write down here things that you loved to do. Things that you really gave some time to. That you had some real passion for. We want to stay in childhood because when you get up to teenager years we get a bit wacky.

2. Did you go to school? Did you like it? What did you like about it

3. What did you do during the summer and holidays?

4. Maybe write down 2 or 3 things you disliked as a child.

5. Everybody has a mother. Maybe they weren’t around. Maybe they were. But there was a maternal figure. Maybe several. Maybe you bounced around a bit but you had somebody in that role at certain times? A grandmother. A foster mom. Maybe it was an older sister. A neighbor. Did it shift over time?

Ok. What was mom’s job? Or the mom figure. What was her work? Maybe this is a bit of a list. Did she have hobbies? What kind of hobbies did she have? Did she do things, make things? What did this maternal person or persons love to do?

6. What about a paternal presence in your life? Did you have a father figure around? It could have been your actual dad or even a teacher or a coach. Could have been an older brother. Some friends in a gang. We don’t want to limit it this. But again identify some person or group of people who played that role in your life.

What was their work? How did they earn a living? Maybe for while you had a step dad or a foster dad. Maybe this person sold things. Maybe those things were illegal. We are not judging here or focusing on the negative. We are going to acknowledge that they were a sales person and that they were entrepreneurial. Ok. What were their hobbies? Did they have hobbies? Maybe they had friendships and networking as hobbies or working on cars? What did this paternal person or persons love to do?

7. Were their siblings around or cousins around or other people roughly in your age range that lived in the same place?

8. Did you live in a communal environment or were people more independent?

9. Was there music in the house? So adjust this for yourself as needed.

10. Was there reading? Was reading valued?

11. Was there storytelling, theater, movie or TV watching in the home?

12. Did you go to church?

13. Was their politics in the house?

14. Did you travel? Were there family vacations? If so, did you go to visit family or was it to places like Disneyland? What was the nature of that traveling?

15. Did the unit, however it was organized, do social things together?

16. Did the family or family unit eat together or separately?

17. What did the family unit value? What did your family care about?

Now Gregory will need a volunteer. That person is going tell us what they wrote down, and we are going to listen. We will then look at what they were passionate about as a child and what was model for them and maybe ask a bit about what they liked and disliked. And then we will play a bit with putting those things together to image different kinds of professional careers that they might pursue.

Also available as a PDF, here