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Rule 6 - If in doubt, do it for the grand kids or your children Rules for Embracing Life in the 21st Century
Children are our future.

Kahlil Gibran's message on children in his lyric poem in "The Prophet" expresses what Ivan meant in Rule 6. Children are not just ours. They are the future:

"And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.Cherry Pyron shares candlelight at a vigil
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

As a self described futurist, Ivan fervently believed in making choices that benefit the next generations. A futurist is not a fortune teller. The futurist studies trends and draws conclusions. Since life is subject to unforeseen events, the trends may skew. Conclusions drawn can be inaccurate. That never deterred Ivan!

Finding trends meant research. As a college student, he wanted to pinpoint industry in our region. He identified each factory in the Purchase, their purpose and number of employees. That meant calling each one. That sort of information would not be shared with a random college student today!

His graduate thesis was on a postal service number-zip codes. He called his study "zip code geography". He believed zip codes would affect decisions by American business and he was right. Affluent zip codes got upscale products.

He mapped the growth of the auto industry in mid America at a time new factories were still on drawing boards. His belief that the East Coast would lose real estate to sea rise and flooding is now backed by current events.

If in doubt? Everyone should experience some doubt when at a crossroads. Doubt leads to examining which direction is the right one to go. The question of "what kind of world do I want to leave?" should be studied on before moving on.

The world of Ivan's childhood was shaped by the Cold War. A junior high student in Jacksonville Florida at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, he vividly remembered the instruction on which boxcar to use if evacuation became necessary. He learned to "duck and cover". Kneel on the floor and entwine your arms over your head. No one ever explained how that would prevent radiation poisoning.

As a college student, he learned history and politics from a Russian professor who had fled the Soviet Union. The world his parents and grandparents left him was an internationally dangerous place.

The international battle for global security morphed into proxy wars. The Soviets and Americans vying for supremacy one country at a time. The Berlin Wall was the Soviet answer to East Germans trying to escape. The Vietnam War was America's response in the "domino theory" of creeping Chinese communism. Russia also took its turn getting beaten in Afghanistan. Neither East nor West's responses were thinking of their children and their future. Each was focused on the right now. Both ate up bodies and minds of the young.

As the international scene stands, there are still leaders thinking first of themselves. The focus is on the leader's success, not of the children Gibran tells us don't belong to us. The madness of today is scarring the adults of tomorrow. Will they even be able to envision a world without madness?

The human condition swings between selfishness and selflessness. We choose today's comfort and convenience over what we are leaving our children. We do things without thought to consequences. Plastics are so very convenient. Chemicals that kill bugs and weeds can kill indiscriminately.

It wasn't until Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring that the news that DDT was killing bird eggs. And it was happening to the bald eagle, our national symbol. The vision of the eagle going extinct was the impetus for banning DDT. Eagles have made an impressive comeback. Eagles Recovery

Lead in gasoline was standard not that many years ago. The effects of leaded gasoline on brain function took time to document and ban. A powerful coalition of the petroleum industry and auto makers applied their cost benefit analysis to leaded gasoline. They lost that battle.

Lead in paint and in toys made in other countries continue to hurt children. "Lead poisoning is completely preventable, yet it is one of the most common pediatric public health problems, particularly in the Northeast region. Exposure to lead can harm young children and babies, even before birth. Often, a child with lead poisoning shows no initial signs or symptoms, other than elevated levels of lead in his or her blood."

Lead Poisoning in Children: Yale Medicine

The world we are leaving no longer has DDT or leaded gasoline. Lead paint continues to be a problem.

But the world doesn't feel as safe as it did in Ivan's youth. Our youth are learning their own version of duck and cover with active shooter drills. Addressing the issue of too many guns and too little regulation is harder than teaching little children to hide in the supply closet and silence their phones. But who is it harder on?

Leaders of our past worked to defeat the Soviet empire. Russia got outspent and the empire reduced to satellite states and allies. A galling thing for the present Russian leadership who remembers the good old days differently than the rest of us! The war on Ukraine is his beginning steps to restoring the empire.

There are signs that some in America also want to go back in time. Teaching only vetted versions of history in his birth state of Florida disturbed him greatly. Book banning reminded him of the Nazi book burnings of the 1930s and 40s.

A better world for children in Ivan's view was clear skies, clear water, clear eyed education, a clear shot regardless of where they came from.

"For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday." Turning back the clock is impossible. But some are trying. Is theirs the kind of world we want to leave our children?

Because if it is, we aren't doing it for them. We are doing it for ourselves.

Addendum: We found Ivan's Rules for Embracing Life in the 21st Century while going through the many pieces of paper he left behind. I was his editor, correcting his grammar, his creatively spelled words and his bureaucratic run on sentences. He didn't share these twelve rules with me so I am not sure when he wrote them or even what prompted him to write them. The rules have made me stop and think. They have pushed me to write again and to share thoughts on each rule and what I think it meant to him. And what it means to me

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