|children in sri lanka... aren't they beautiful and happy?!!|
excuse me while i reminisce...
i'm feeling sentimental here.
i've been feeling sentimental all summer long.
|this was us our last Sunday in Michigan, summer 2006.|
years ago, they were sitting happily in their lovely, Michigan home.
minding their own business, raising their children
the girl was pregnant with their fifth child.
the boy worked at Ford, in new product development.
it was a FUN job that paid well.
they had just refinished their basement for long-term.
they LOVED their friends and church family.
life was good.
a feeling that he could do MORE.
that he could make a difference in the world.
that he needed to go back to school.
the girl got that feeling.
that she needed to follow and encourage and support and grow...
he was smart.
she was willing.
he got a perfect score on the GRE.
we were destined for Harvard or MIT or some other top ten school.
he applied to colleges.
he flew out to interview at some top 10 schools.
he always came home feeling sick.
it was going to be hard to raise our family of 5 in many of the places these schools were.
she was willing to go where we needed to go-- but unsure where that would be.
he got a call from a school they hadn't heard of-- Texas Tech.
professors there wanted him to come.
he hadn't even applied, but they offered great funding.
the boy and girl landed in a lonely texas oil field and felt that feeling...
this was right.
|elephant crossing... armed guards.|
it was our "years wandering in the wilderness".
i don't want to sound too dramatic here... i'm not dramatic, i am descriptive.
while there was MUCH good that came from our years at graduate school.
we sacrificed and stretched and CLIMBED.
i can not even tell you the extent that we struggled through those years.
it wasn't just financially, it was emotionally, spiritually, physically... ugh.
it was hard, but couldn't have been better in any other place in the world.
we knew we were just where we needed to be.
we learned so much. we loved it there.
we saw the hand of the Lord in our lives.
|there were some problems with todd's ticket and the poor guy got upgrade to first class...|
our marriage and family is stronger.
we enter the program with four kids and one big belly.
we left with 7 kids- one just a couple months old.
(do you know anyone else that gave birth to three children during one PhD program?)
we were SO blessed.
WE earned our PhD!
and, we learned A LOT.
SIX YEARS LATER-- we are here at OSU.
todd has been teaching for a year and we are relaxing a bit.
we are moved in, we have made new friends, eve is sleeping though the night, our paycheck is ample.
life is good!!
|one of the Sri Lanka rooms he stayed in... they were not all this nice.|
|they used those old skeleton keys. |
don't you wish we still did?
did we make the right choice? was it worth it?
will we ever REALLY do what we hoped we would do?
The Professor has never once looked back.
(i'm a pile of salt by now, if you know what i mean.)
THIS SUMMER, THIS SUMMER!!!!!!
the professor flew to Sri Lanka as part of a team helping the non-profit organization Room To Read.
his is doing EXACTLY what he dreamed he would do.
he is MAKING A DIFFERENCE in the world.
serving the poor and down trodden.
|can you see the mother and her child?|
SHE is why!! that child is WHY!!
THIS is why we sacrificed so much.
We are just beginning the MIDDLE!!!
|ha! i can't tell you how many pictures todd took of the food he ate...|
He is a professor—Business Strategy, with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship.
My professor's focus is SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP.
|don't you wish you could shop at a store like this?|
He helps companies who are trying to make a difference in the world- with their Strategy.
Let me tell you more.
You've already read this far-- promise it's not boring.
Their motto- "World Change Starts With Educated Children."
They build schools and libraries in third world countries.
The group of professors that Todd is working with said this was really one of the best run organizations they have worked for.
Warning-- This is Todd's job according to ME...
i might not get everything exactly right, but i'm pretty good at explaining things in layman's terms.
One of the things that makes Room to Read unique, and in my opinion pretty great, is that it does not just GIFT the schools.
This company is funded primarily by US donors... they have the money to build the schools completely, but they have found that the people of the villages are more invested in the school if they sacrifice to build it.
I believe that SACRIFICE and WORK are good principles, even among poor people...
Mainly, the towns were committing to their 20% and not following through.
It takes months of planning to build these schools and so by the time the organization could see that the towns weren't doing their part, they couldn't just say, "Ok, then we won't build the school."
The American's who funded the school wanted to see it built and they already had the workers and supplies planned to come to the village.
The professors are not funded by Room to Read.
They are funded by grants, usually from the school they are working for.
Todd has research money given him each year, but it wasn't enough to cover trips to Sri Lanka.
So, he wrote a proposal and OSU agreed to pay for all his travel expenses.
The group of professor's my professor worked with are superstar professors.
He is the newby.
They like him because he is a statistics superstar and has a masters in mechanical engineering.
This will be helpful when they work with non-profits building bridges or dams or wells.
(can you FEEL that coming? i can!)
Room to Read.
(that's what professor's do... they research, find the results and write scholarly papers on them that are hopefully published in journals so other people can learn from their results. and they teach classes.)
Sri Lanka is an island of India-- it is very poor.
2. they have a competition group-- villages that are paired together with another village who is also getting a school. they built a billboard in each village that marks their progress. the villagers can see how the other village is doing and that is supposed to encourage them to get their school built faster. the first village to finish their 20% receives a nominal prize (like uniforms or books, etc.)
3. they have a cooperation group-- if both of the villages finish their part by a certain date, they will both receive a nominal prize.
what do you think the results will be?
The schools are at their beginning stages.
They went to interview the building committees to see how things were going and to get quotes for their research.
So far, both the competition and cooperation villages were doing better than the control group.
Todd told me some stories.
One cooperation group couldn't afford the tools they needed-- so they worked with their paired village and bought one set of tools that they share.
One competition group was stuck in their progress because the government was taking too long to give them a permit for sand.
They decided to just get the sand anyway so they wouldn't fall behind.
A police officer stopped them as they were filling up their trucks. They explained what they were doing and why and the officer ended up helping them and escorting them back to the village.
I believe that he will make a difference in the world, even if it is in a small way.
i believe THIS is just the beginning... the beginning of the middle pages of our story.
i don't mean to make it sound like we are doing some GREAT thing.
we're not. but by small and simple things are great things brought to pass!
i'm excited to some day bring my family to help build schools in a third world country.
i'm excited to see what the future holds for him, for us...
i believe one person can make a difference.
one person, one family, one feeling and the desire to make a difference.
|want to know why we left Ford and went back to school, even though it was hard?|
THIS is why!!!
(you can read what i wrote about PhD programs while i was in the middle of it- here- Choosing Growth.)