When thinking how we could give a shout out to fathers on the blog today, my mind immediately went to the Taylors. Daniel Taylor, his father Carl Taylor, and son Luke Taylor-Ide, all worked together to bring the vision for Future Generations to life. Three generations of fathers and sons working together has made this already special relationship even more dynamic. The Taylor family has long worked to promote community-based education, and each has brought their own unique approach to the field.
Carl Taylor founded the academic discipline of international health and dedicated his life to the marginalized people of the world. He was also the founding chair of the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Up until a week before his death, he continued sharing his near century-long perspective with his students while working as the Country Director for Future Generations in Afghanistan.
Daniel Taylor founded Future Generations, as well as twelve other nonprofit organizations. He’s been engaged in social change and conservation for more than four decades with a focus on building international cooperation to achieve ambitious projects, and has received widespread recognition and award for his efforts. He is one of the synthesizers of the SEED-SCALE method, and since 1995 has continued to lead global field trials of SEED-SCALE and educate the world on this method through the sharing his research and books.
Luke Taylor-Ide has worked to combine academic interest in applied education with a parallel field-oriented approach to social change, having had extended, multi-year assignments in Afghanistan, India, and rural America. His findings affected national health policy in Afghanistan in regards to enabling women, and addressed the impacts of modernization on sustainable living in India. He currently focuses on the intersection of local agriculture economies, community-based preventive healthcare, and entrepreneurship in West Virginia.
I reached out to Luke to help me create todays’ post, while keeping true to the purpose of the blog, and he kindly agreed to help. We hope you enjoy the following post in tribute to fathers everywhere.
Is there a project in particular that you all worked on that really sticks out to you?
Probably the most memorable project that I worked on with my father and grandfather was the “Pregnancy History Project” in Afghanistan and India. Several points are noteworthy about this project, most importantly it was the closest professional collaboration I got to share with my grandfather—it ended up being his last major research and action project. During this time, Bapu (Carl) and I traveled to Afghanistan and India to first launch a research effort to assess the impact of the Pregnancy History Method implemented 2 years earlier in Afghanistan and then also launch a parallel implementation approach in Arunachal Pradesh, India. We were closing our time in Kabul, Afghanistan when Dad (Dan’l) arrived to complete programatic work and we all overlapped for two nights in the guest house of the International Assistance Mission. One night we got into a debate about the appropriate placement and role for the concept of establishing a Shared Vision for change in community within SEED-SCALE. Each of us had a strong opinion and they were all different; we debated that point for hours in the living room until the other guests united and asked us to go to bed—we had no idea how late or opinionated we each had become. I am still not sure that any of us went to bed that night at all convinced of the other’s views—but I expect each of us thought our point had come out on top.
What’s the greatest benefit to working with your father?
We get to spend a lot of time together! As a result of interacting on a virtually daily basis, usually regarding work, we have learned to adapt our relationship from one of typical father-son to being colleagues and friends. We gain insight into one another’s daily life in a way that most father-son relationships cannot do. While this can be a delicate balance, having an enduring relationship that has evolved throughout the years has allowed us to know one another professionally as well as personally, which for better or for worse has brought us closer together.
What’s the hardest thing about working with your father?
At times the line between our professional and personal relationship can get blurred which adds significant strain on both. It is often difficult for us to “turn off” work when we are together. While this can have its perks such as working through a complex issue over dinner, it can also easily turn a relaxing evening into a night of work and debate. Unlike many working relationships, we are unable to cut ties completely if we have a disagreement so we generally work out our different views and are both better for it—but getting to common ground is not always the most fun.
What’s been your most memorable interaction while working with family?
In March of 2008 I got a phone call from my grandfather asking me to come and assist him on the Pregnancy History Project that summer. On the call he stated that he had discussed this idea thoroughly with Dad who had authorized and approved of the idea—“everything has been arranged as long as you are willing to do it,” he said. Obviously when your 92 year old grandfather asks for your help, you say yes, so I did. The next day I spoke to Dad who said that he had just gotten off the phone with my grandfather who reported that I had requested to be involved with the Pregnancy History Project and that I had made a compelling case. By the time Dad and I both spoke to one another to discover that we each had agreed to part of an elaborate plan orchestrated by the family patriarch all we could do was laugh and go along with it. I still chuckle about the fact that my first official employment with Future Generations was the result of orchestration from my grandfather.
Many thanks to Luke for his contribution to today’s blog, and Happy Father’s Day from all of us here at Future Generations!