We pray this note finds you safe, sound, healthy and happy. 2008 saw world events more delightful and dreadful things that one could have ever expected back on Jan. 1, eh? 10 pounds of eye-opening outcomes in one overworked, 5 pound bag. We hope the new presidency will nimbly respond and counterbalance both the current perils of the U.S. and the even longer term realities like a warming planet, U.S. declines in engineering & education, and not living up to the American dream in truly bold, inspiring ways.
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2008 (click for larger image)
Meanwhile, certain aspects of life will continue forward completely oblivious to these events.
- The younger one, Sidd, started Kindergarten - - what he triumphantly calls “a BIGGER Montessori” to demonstrate how he perceives progress in life
- Paul consistently identifies new things he can reach above him, “look at how tall I am getting”
- Together, the boys have truly “discovered” their cousins in Atlanta, giving even the brief interactions at a wedding a new vigor and urgency
- We had the good fortune to attend the wedding of Molly’s cousin Tara (in DC) and my cousin Anita (in Chicago) and thereby catch up with many people. The boys undertook the gallant and ambassadorial role of ring bearers in each event
A Few 2008 Observations
- The boys continue to witness “firsts” that you forget as an adult. Bicycling. Fishing and cleaning a fish. Downhill skiing. Bowling. Journaling. Wii sports. Making an apple pie with mom. Losing your baby teeth, and the all important tooth fairy. Actually using a fireman’s firehose (thanks to my high school classmate Bobby Alexander).
- Sticking to things is hard but rewarding. After 7 long years (that’s 1st to 7th grade, sheesh) my sister Cindy secured tenure as a professor at University of Michigan. And Molly’s brother Geoji has steadily broadened his role and experience set thru his 5 immersive years at Pervasive. How inspiring.
- I am amazed at the abstract interpretations we must have as youngsters. Consider how Paul at 6 defines the soul: As context, during our daily evening prayers with the boys, one part is to explicitly pray for family or friends who have passed away. One evening Sidd asked with ruffled, puzzled eyebrows, "Dad, how do people go to heaven?" to which Paul interjected as an older brother can. "Sidd, Sidd, Sidd, here is what God does," and then, making a delicate motion with his hands like gathering clothes together painstakingly and lifting them upward, “He carefully takes all the most important parts of the body together. Sidd, that's the part that is called 'the soul.' He gently takes that to where he is. That's why you know the bones are not important, HE LEAVES THEM IN THE GROUND!" declaring the last part with great certainty. It was the 1st time Molly and I had heard his views on mortality. Perhaps it was the intersection of: seeing all those dinosaur bones in various books; pondering where the rest of the dinosaur went; and what was shared at his Catholic school. It did make us pause and think.
- Memories of our youth start early. "Dad, when Sidd was a baby, he had many very cute faces" “Mom, when I was a little boy, Paul didn’t let me play with his toys.” What? He couldn’t remember such details, could he? But sheesh, it’s just plausible enough to make one wonder.
- The Web is a remarkably large part of young lives. My dad, a Board-certified retired surgeon, is no longer Paul’s 1st resource for medical questions, “I think we should look in the computer before we call Appa.” Wow.
- But is this surprising? Consider: YouTube shows you how to do just about ANYTHING; free interactive learning tools abound, like VisibleBody for anatomy; Facebook lets you keep up with friends; and videochats (our latest discovery) bring body language into a phone call.
- Incredible ideas keep arising from combining old things in new ways. Two examples: SkySails, that harness massive parachutes to freighter ships, shaving 10% of the fuel costs; BetterPlace, a bold new venture that prices electric cars like cell phones - - you pay for the miles you drive and the entry level models are have zero purchase cost
- Uncommon creations result when people refuse traditional solutions. The City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri, redefined the idea of a children’s museum. If you are passing thru, make sure to stop in and learn how to look at the same problem in a very new, unexpected ways.
In closing, Molly, the "2 chuttumbees" and I wish you a tremendous New Year, regardless the ups and downs that may persist in the world's economies and politics. May you explore, discover, develop and appreciate the treasures, talents and time at your fingertips, and find remarkable ways to bring them to life.
Take care and God Bless You!
Sidd, Paul, Molly and Abe…