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Time Travel for Baby: Making A Time Capsule for Newborns – Part II
The time capsule container must be sealed securely enough so that it can only be opened once. The recipient must not be able to sneak looks inside until opening day. Multiple layers of wrapping paper and tape can guard cardboard boxes. Sturdier boxes of wood, plastic or metal may require a padlock, preferably at the end of a chain dramatically wound around the capsule.
© 2011 by Aurelio Locsin
The necessary exterior label for the time capsule must similarly be durable since it identifies the birth date, the recipient’s full name, the giver’s full name and the opening date. Putting it in a transparent sleeve or an attached hard case will work. Popular milestones for the big reveal can be high school or college graduation, 21st birthday, marriage or first child. If you want to exclude any possibility that the recipient can look you up during the big day, schedule it for the first Social Security or retirement benefit. (Whether such a thing will exist in the future is another question entirely.)
An interior letter is a needed touch, just in case the exterior label is lost. Take it as an opportunity to handwrite good wishes, explain the reason for the time capsule or express how much you love the newborn. Position it so it’s the first item revealed when the capsule is open.
You want to include valuables in the time capsule though whether something merits such distinction is relative. One measure of worth is rarity. Think about things that are common now that may not exist during opening day.
- Newspapers, magazines, books, printed menus, junk mail, postage stamps and other printed materials will almost certainly give way to digital versions.
- Common disposables never last, such as paper coffee cups, empty beer cans, fast food containers wrappers, plastic utensils, plastic grocery bags.
- Representatives from the natural world such as wood, fur and seeds. How about pictures or models of polar bears and rhinos, or a snapshot of the local coastline or trees?
- Cynics may want throw in expressions of privacy, freedom, individuality, democracy, ethics and good manners.
And you may want to include things that have maintained value over time because who doesn’t like getting treasure? Small pieces of gold, silver, rare stamps or coins, or perhaps collectibles such as baseball cards or comic books are just a few examples.
Be careful about including any recording media such as CDs or DVDs. Such anachronisms will be unplayable in a few years. If you want to include multimedia, make it part of a portable player that is totally self-contained. That way, the recipient can hear your message without resorting to external accessories. Make sure any batteries are sealed in a leak-proof pouch. You can still include the DVD or other media as a backup, in case the portable player doesn’t work.
I created such a treasure for the first newborn of my generation. I gave it to him as a gift for his first Christmas, to be opened on his 21st birthday. Of course, he was clueless since he was just a few months old. But his parents and the people gathered there thought it was very cool and unique. I’m hoping the kid will be just as delighted with the time capsule when he finally receives it.