I can't sit back and criticize society if my kid is cussing and treating people like garbage if I don't set any limits on the television, movies or video games he sees. From the hobby perspective, I can't criticize the card manufacturers for not marketing cards to my kids if I don't first expose them to the hobby in a real, personal way. My oldest son is well on his way to being a collector. I don't know if it will stick long term, but he's learning the ins and outs of the hobby. My youngest son doesn't care at all about cards. That's ok too. It's not for everyone.
I think it's fairly evident that this hobby is slowly dying. Does it help that with my son, I might have a collector in the making? Sure it does. Does replacing one aging collector (me) with one young collector solve the problem? No. There are many things which need to be done to not only create new collectors, but keep those of us who have been involved in the hobby for a long time coming back. However, that's a different post. This is all about one small idea that might just make a small difference for the future of this hobby.
I'm going to start planting seeds in December. I've started putting a few cards into team bags for my son to give out to his friends and classmates. Of course, around here, the Texas Rangers are most kids' favorite team so I'm including a lot of those in the team bags. Not just base cards either. The occasional insert, relic, and even an auto or two will be included.
My hope is that by doing this early in the month, maybe some kid will see all those packs on the card aisle at Wally World and ask for some cards for Christmas. I don't expect to change the world with this idea. It's not going to stop the North Koreans from shelling the South, put an end to poverty or hunger or cancer. But it just might spark an interest in this hobby in some kid who never saw a baseball card before. It might give my son someone to trade with besides me.
It's something we can all do, even if we don't have kids. Give the cards to nieces, nephew, grandkids, neighbors' kids. Whatever. If we plant enough seeds, we'll end up with a forest in the future.