For more than thirty years Touch the Future has been interviewing visionary educators, authors, scientists, researchers and performance specialists. Uniting each is a deep appreciation of the limitless capacity for children to love and to learn. This collection of visionaries is the heart of Touch the Future On-Line, our interactive, searchable Internet site, designed to share these collected insights with the world. 

We publish an internet Newsletters often featuring one or more of these interviews. Subjects include brain development, prenatal consciousness, the nature of intelligence, nonviolent communication, adoption, the ecology of children and nature, the biology of nurturing, birth, bonding, original play, peak performance and more. 

We have organized and video taped invitational symposiums, hosted national educational conferences, produced audio and video tapes, published books, hosted bi-annual dialogues, organized a speakers bureau featuring leading specialists in early childhood and have collaborated with other organizations to support their efforts on behalf of children and families. 

Our greatest accomplishment is perhaps our vision for the future. Touch the Future is positioned to make a significant contribution to the early children and families. The vision and inspiration of the research community has never been greater, nor has the need. The majority of young children are in institutional care, beginning in infancy—many for extended periods. Professional childcare has replaced the extended family as the source of nurturing and emotional security for most children. Many of today’s parents were the product of childcare themselves, and are often uneasy caring for their own children.

  • Families, especially single parents, feel isolated and unsupported.
  • Most mothers of young children choose or out of necessity remain in the workforce.
  • There is a critical shortage of quality, child-centered care programs. The demand for even custodial-based facilities exceeds the supply.
  • There exist confusing, often conflicting models for appropriate childcare and parenting. 
  • Few resources are available, at the local level, for continuing early childhood education for parents and professionals.
  • There is growing awareness of research which links child abuse and neglect during the formative years to brain damage, depression, aggression, learning disabilities, and later adult patterns of addiction and violence.

We Touch the Future by addressing these needs and many others, with proactive, positive and nurturing support for parents,educators and caregivers.

Touch the Future is more an evolution of insights than events. Perhaps it is a single insight, with different facets unfolding at different times. 

The way adults Touch the Future exploded into view with the homebirth of my second son, John-Michael. Suddenly he was there, looking up. Waves of deep affection filled the room. I could see, reflected in this first glance, that his life would be deeply influenced by my strengths and by my limitations. He was watching, learning. Our relationship, more precisely, my relationship to everything, including him, would be his teaching. The focus suddenly shifted from controlling or shaping his behavior to uplifting my own. The challenge was to become or model the best I could be rather than reward or punish his behavior. I would help open and develop his unique gifts and he mine. Embarking on this most remarkable journey, I knew that trust, respect and deep affection would be our guide. That was June of 1986. 

In the East they speak of a state of mind or relationship, which is awake, attentive, fully present, where complete attention is given to “what is”. In this state, perception “acts,” deeply, authentically and with great intelligence. Athletes call this state of undivided attention “the zone.” In the zone, our response is not clouded by opinions, judgments or self-defense. For my wife, childbirth was a zone or flow experience. Now, John-Michael and I shared this state. Clearly this new human being would touch my life as much as I his. Could this wakefulness, with its deep trust and respect, become the center of our relationship? Could anything be more important than the sanctity of this first and most important relationship? Years later he is still watching, still learning.

In the late 70’s, while filming a documentary on the nature of intelligence, I happened to meet David Bohm, a protégé of Einstein. I didn’t know it then, but David was one of our most visionary theoretical physicists. Quantum physics reveals that we, and the physical universe, are varying patterns or fields of energy. Bohm believed this energy was in someway conscious and intelligent. Fields are not localized like tables and chairs. The information or “meaning” implicit in these fields is everywhere, always. 

Also in the 70’s I happened upon a book, Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain. The Soviets had been investigating extra sensory perception, as did the CIA, for its potential use in counter intelligence. The book described separating a litter of rabbits from their mother, who was being monitored in a laboratory. The babies were taken in a submarine to the bottom of the Black Sea and slaughtered one at a time. The moment of death for each baby was later matched with spikes in the mother’s brain and heart waves with precise colorations. This is a field affect, a subtle connection, which is not dependent on time or space. If a rabbit’s brain is sensitive enough to register such affects, imagine how sensitive our human heart/mind may be. For years, my wife and I had shared some of these non-localized affects. John-Michael was an expression of our energy; so obviously he too was participating in our experience, our fields, outwardly through his five senses and inwardly through what we might call intuition. 

This intuitive force is strong in young children. They learn from it. It guides them, as much, if not more than the information gathered from their physical senses. Most adults miss this subtle resonance completely. 

The state of the adult, their local and non-localized fields, have meaning and represent vital information, especially for the early child. The feeling or meaning of the adult’s changing states resonate in these subtle fields, which expresses in the child as intuition or feelings. Most importantly, this inner, non-verbal knowing, provides the context or filter which gives order to the child’s experience. When the inner state of the adult changes, so does the context for what the child learns. Simply stated, the state of the adult has a strong influence on what the child actually learns. For the early child, the quality of these first, primary relationships establishes patterns of perception and behavior which last a lifetime. The essential insight, which later became the core of Touch the Future, is that the state of the adult, in relationship, is infinity more important than the information or skills we so urgently wish to convey or “teach.” “State” or relationship is primary and impacts learning, performance and wellness. 

I saw in myself and others that adults often mistakenly give all their attention to “teaching” the child how to kick the ball, read the sentence, take his or her first step, and ignoring the actual state of their relationship. The real learning, that which leaves permanent marks, is our inner state as this outer, so-called “teaching,” is taking place. By optimizing our inner experience we open the possibility of slipping naturally into Optimum Learning Relationship, a state which frees energy and attention from self-defense, and therefore dramatically improves how we learn, perform and feel. 

David Bohm and later Joseph Chilton Pearce described research showing how our physical, emotional and intellectual “states” are woven into each memory, now referred to as “state specific learning”. To remember is to reconstruct images of the physical, emotional and intellectual states involved in the original experience. Adults, especially males, give greatest attention to their intellectual images and often neglect those created by the body and emotions. The early child, relying almost exclusively on somatic and emotional intelligences, learns more in the first few years than they will the rest of their lives. There is a huge gap between what is actually taking place in the child, emotionally and physically, and what most adults “think” is happening. 

Basic trust, belonging and feeling safe are perhaps the simplest way to describe this inner knowing of the early child. When safe, even in a highly challenging environment, learning and growth unfolds exponentially. Betray this need for basic trust early in a child’s life, and we all pay a heavy price. In 1981 Pat, a female friend, was training for the 1984 Olympics. On Tuesday evening, at 9:30pm a stranger slipped through an unlocked window of her apartment. Wearing a mask and pressing a knife to her throat, he described stalking her for weeks. He knew when she went to the gym, who her friends were, where she shopped. For three hours he beat and threatened to rape and kill her. When the assailant placed the weapon on the nightstand, Pat grabbed the knife, pushed the rapist to the floor and chased him out of her home. 

Sexual violence had never touched my life so closely. Why would a man do such a thing? I had to know. For the next two years I reached out to over fifty rape crisis centers, district attorneys, victims, assailants and forensic psychiatrists. Slowly a critical piece of human development locked into place. Pat’s assailant had been betrayed very early in his life. 

Years ago Ashley Montagu, a friend to Touch the Future, published The Natural Superiority of Women. The biological superiority of females obviously implies that males are more vulnerable and are so from the moment of conception. Research shows that the male fetus is at greater risk of death and damage. By the time a baby is born boys are 4 to 6 weeks less developed than girls. Boys face more psychological problems in early childhood. They require more attention, making them more vulnerable to poor parental care. Girls outperform boys at school. The disadvantages of being male are compounded by the cultural norm of treating them as more resilient than girls. Suicides are three times as common among males than females. Rape, domestic violence, many forms of child abuse, addiction, depression often begin when a boy’s essential need to feel safe, wanted and cared for is betrayed by significant adults early in his life. The opposite of this Betrayal of Intimacy is equally true. Nurturing the early child, girls and boys, will prevent much of the violence we experience throughout the world and the research supports this very clearly. It was so simple.

Violence was epidemic in the 80’s, gangs, drive-by’s, and campus slayings. Teen pregnancies were on the rise. More single parents were seeking early and extended daycare. Original play was being replaced by television and by often violent computer games. The direct, intimate contact between parents and young children, the antidote for many adult patterns of abuse and addiction, was rare. Mothers of young children were the fastest growing segment of the workplace. In so many ways we were moving in the wrong direction. The consequences were chilling. Again and again the importance of bonding and basic trust took center stage.

Building upon these insights, I proposed a five part PBS series called Touch the Future. In packaging the proposal I invited fifty leading researchers to serve as advisors. All but two responded with great enthusiasm. Later it became clear that the themes developed by the series would challenge the values and policies of every major institution, health care, education, corporate America, childcare, media, the computer industry, etc. The series was not funded. Rebounding in 1993, Touch the Future became a 501c3, nonprofit educational organization. Our first step was publishing a newsletter featuring David Bohm on Knowledge & Insight. Three copies of this first edition were sent to twenty-five colleagues and close friends with a request that they forward the two additional copies to two other friends. Our current mailing list evolved in this very personal way. 

In the mid 90’s a new question arose, one as compelling as the issue of violence. Why do people with equal talent perform differently under pressure? Why do some thrive and others collapse? 

In 1981 Joseph Chilton Pearce wrote about “playful insight” in his book Bond of Power where he explored the critical relationship of bonding, play, learning and insight. Also in 1981 Ashley Montagu published Growing Young, The Genius Of Childhood Recaptured. The focus of this work was also our playful nature. In 1987 David Bohm described, in Science, Order and Creativity, the role of authentic play as the foundation for true intelligence and insight. In 1990 Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi wrote Flow, The Psychology of Optimal Experience where he described the complete attention, a characteristic of original play, found in those performing at their best. In a rich and varied ways, their descriptions parallel that of O. Fred Donaldson, a play researcher who had spent the past twenty years playing with special needs children and wild animals. I discovered that original play was nature’s medium for real learning and development. The prerequisite for play is feeling safe – back to bonding and belonging. 

Touch the Future’s goal is to reduce the resistance to learning, performance and wellness often found in adult relationships with children. Together these insights reinforced the importance of what we call bonding, belonging, nurturing, basic trust, all functions of relationship rather than content we give so much attention to. I discovered that the relationship is the content and the connection, the bond, is the channel of communication. When the state is undivided and the bond safe, there is nothing that cannot be learned or accomplished. Growth becomes defensive rather than expansive if the state, the bond, is fragmented, or in conflict. 

We Touch the Future through our relationships with children. Our relationship provides the context for every learning opportunity and therefore is the content, especially for the early child. For the early child this context is often experienced as a feeling or subtle sense of safety or dis-ease. What the early child learns and remembers is the relationship, much more than the skills or concepts we wish to “teach” them. 

By appreciating the primacy of “state” over content our attention shifts, and with it, the resonate field we call relationship also changes. Learning becomes relationship and our relationships become the learning. The resistance to learning, peak performance and wellness many of us feel, fades, leading naturally to Optimum Learning Relationships. Optimum becomes easy, the miraculous natural when our self-imposed resistance, or that imposed by others, is replaced by undreamed of possibilities. In this state we welcome the unexpected with joy, affection, and great respect. 

Home – Our site contains hundreds of video interviews, articles, publications, interviews and research papers on child and human development. Knowing where to look will help you apply this archive to your life and the lives of the children you love.

Vision – Here you will find a statement of our accomplishments, history, this site summary, what we do and who we serve. These describe what makes Touch the Future unique. Today our main focus is adding new content to The Academy and creating custom curriculum resource packages that support the needs of other organizations.

The Academy – is newest most valuable contribution. Here you will find the most extensive collection of works by Joseph Chilton Pearce, James W. Prescott and several others in what we call Libraries. Next are Departments that include developmentally sequences categories such as Pregnancy, birth and Bonding or imagination and Play. These are followed by streaming Audio section. Each Library and Department features video programs where many have been indexed by theme as ‘insight.’ There is a powerful ‘Advanced Search’ feature for Academy member use. Search by individual, by theme or a combination of authors and themes.

Michael Mendizza – describes the events and inspiration that lead to the creation of Touch the Future, a review of Magical parent – Magical Child, brief biography and contact information.  

Blog – An archive of blogs on various topics by Michael Mendizza

Newsletters – An archive of Touthe the Future newsletters.

Members – Rather than seeking grants which is tedious, political and time consuming, we chose to grow by serving you, your family and community. We do this by sharing our archive which spans over twenty years of work and includes inspired video programs, interviews, essays, publications, blogs and hosting events with leaders in the field of human development. New programs are being added to the Academy on a regular basis. One DVD collection alone, Joseph Chilton Pearce – Reaching Beyond Magical Child, sells for twice the amount of the price for an annual membership. This is a rare synthesis that every parent and every educator must have in their collection.

The Academy

The heart of the New Touch the Future is the Academy. The beauty of our new platform is the way you can scan hours of materials in minutes, search by Author or by Themes or mutual Themes, click a subject item, what we call insights, review summaries, play the clip and in most cases review full transcripts of the selected item. In the future we will have a list of recommended ‘related links’ that expand, support and compliment the featured item. Every week we plan on adding new materials and further indexing existing selections.

In The Academy ‘Libraries’ are large collections by a single author. We are extremely pleased to offer the Joseph Chilton Pearce Library, a collection of interviews and presentations gathered over the past twenty five years which represents the most comprehensive overview of Joe’s expansive vision for our and our children’s full development.

Below our Libraries are Departments. These are developmentally organized to help you focus on the ages and stages of development that are of the most interest. This includes our Classroom, featuring a comprehensive review of Magical Parent, Magical Child, a book on optimum learning relationships, what athletes call the Zone, what researcher call Flow and what every child knows as Play, by Michael Mendizza with Joseph Chilton Pearce. And below Departments is a rich collection of Streaming Audio presentations.

Finally we have Touch the Future’s Classic Interviews with the visionary researchers and authors you find in the Academy.

This dynamic presentation format is unique and expansive. Plans are under way to collaborate with other organizations and incorporate their insights and educational programs into The Academy.

Michael Mendizza
Executive Director

We build bridges of understanding between the visionary research community and those who are caring for and mentoring children. Our focus is the caregiver. By helping those who care for children become more knowledgeable, sensitive, and empathic, we Touch the Future of every child they meet.

More has been discovered about child and human development in the past fifty years than in all of human history. The challenge is not to discover new information. It is to reach out and share this vast body of insight with today’s parents, educators, caregivers and coaches, and to do this in ways that support, inform and inspire.

We target specific groups of adults, new mothers, day-care providers, amateur athletic coaches, educators, and create learning designs that speak their unique language, communication tools that meet their specific needs.

Each audience becomes a project, and each project meets a critical need of that audience. Projects range from publications, videotapes and computer based learning tools to symposiums, conferences, intimate workshops, dialogues and year-long mentoring programs.

As a Non Profit Learning Design Center we Touch the Future by supporting, educating and inspiring adults who care for children.

All of childhood expands when we uplift, inspire and support parents and caregivers. Focus on the child while ignoring the adult, and childhood will remain just what it is.

A new insight is emerging. We must nurture, inform and support the adult if we expect them to care for and mentor well-adjusted, happy, intelligent children. This shift, from the child’s behavior to that of the adult, is our central mission.

Which adult? All of them, moms and dads, grandparents, teachers, corporate executives, caregivers, coaches. The challenge of childhood concerns us all. We all Touch the Future by the choices we make every day. Children are compelled to follow the leader and we’re it, like it or not.

We begin at the beginning, by supporting mothers, fathers and early childhood caregivers. We identify individuals and communities who have the greatest impact on children and create specific programs that support and nurture those adults, beginning as early as possible.

Between 70 and 80 percent of the world’s young children are in institutional care. Our top priority is Nurturing – The Early Child, Family & Caregiver. Millions of moms, dads, kids and coaches participate in amateur athletic programs. Our Intelligence of Play project reaches out to inspire and support this community. Accidents, homicide, and suicide are leading causes of death for children ages one to twenty-four. Sharing nonviolent communication skills with parents and caregivers is a high priority. We develop public awareness campaigns. One explores Corporate Exploitation of Children & Families. Another helps develop imagination and early literacy through storytelling. Another offers new models for Optimizing Learning & Safety in Our Nation’s Schools.

We nurture, inform and support adults and through them, Touch the Future of well-adjusted, happy and intelligent children.