There’s a Chinese saying that goes: If you want happiness for a lifetime, help the next generation. Dr. Patti and I call this paying it forward. As scholars, social entrepreneurs, and educators, we feel obligated to give back. It’s interesting that the realization to use education to give back didn’t really materialize until graduate school.
The one thing that attracted me to Walden University was its online doctoral program. The second thing was its mission to transform us into creators of positive social change. This means that we can apply our education to solve social problems and advance the “greater global good.”
Feel the words
Sometimes a mission statement sounds like buzzwords used as a marketing strategy or a competitive advantage. But when I immersed myself in the learning process, I started to feel the meaning of those words. Education can be a tool to make a better world.
And this new awareness was a starting point to think about a dissertation topic. As you know, writing a dissertation or Big D, is a long protracted process – you need to be passionate about your topic. Otherwise boredom sets in and you’ll wonder why you picked that topic in the first place.
We’ve learned that paying it forward can happen in small ways. For example, Dr. Patti stays in touch with another DBA alumni who had doubts about finishing her program. With Dr. Patti’s advice and support she finished her program.
I started a support group for doctoral students in different programs. We were a small group of six – all but one of us graduated. He’s still moving forward in his program and I email him each month. Dr. Patti and I try to make a difference in small ways.
It’s not about us
Education is a gift that anyone should enjoy. Dr. Patti and I believe that our education should not sit on a shelf collecting dust.
We pay it forward for the girls and women around the world who are deprived of their education. Many people live in a world with limitations set by society, culture, and tradition. Opportunities are not part of their world.
It’s not about us – it’s about others we can help in small ways.
Dr. Bessie and Dr. Patti
The greatest effects we have on the world are the ones we can never see.