Oy! Canada, TED talks have entered the building.

Ishita Katyal with Academy Award winning composer A.R. Rahman at TED in Vancouver.

This year, the TED2016 conference for the anything-but-run-of-the-mill geniuses in our midst, kicked off with a session called Our Tomorrow.

It made perfect sense to have 10-year-old writer, Ishita Katyal address the audience with a message she hoped would one day come from the future, for the future and by the future.

Her message was clear (and left a lot of us feeling like underachievers!) It’s hard not to wax nostalgic when listening to a ten year old talk about their frustrations with the adults around them. A simple exercise in thinking back to when you were ten will raise so many similar questions that you had at that age. But to hear someone so eloquently and confidently put their innermost thoughts to an audience comprised of some of the brightest minds in the world, speaks volumes about how far the generations have progressed. “Instead of asking children what they want to do when they grow up, you should ask them what they want to be right now,” she said. “We can do a lot in this moment, in the present. The problem is our world has many forces working against the dreams of children.”

Sounds like she is asking adults to live in the present. Something that seems so simple, but in a landscape oversaturated with multi-media messages about the future, it takes a particular type of daily vigilance to stay true to it. At the very least, it’s worth thinking about.“My dream for the future is that people think 10 times before raising school fees, a hundred times before going to war with another country, a thousand times before wasting food and water, and ten thousand times before letting their child’s childhood go away,” she says. “I hope you adults can look after the world long enough to give us our chance.” In short, she’s asking us to stop and think about their future instead of just ours. And it feels as though we all have a duty to execute on that.

Katyal inspired many conference goers including Monica Lewinsky, who spent time with the young speaker and tweeted this: