Determination Leads to Wisdom
D is for determination. Continuing even when things get tough is determination. Wisdom doesn’t come easily. It comes over time when you are determined.
It is easy to give up. It is easy to procrastinate. It is easy to quit.
When I found myself divorced with three young children I was devastated. It took a while and eventually my determination took over.
I taught school for a few years and I realized my salary would not increase significantly unless I had a master’s degree. When my children were nine, seven, and six years old, I made the decision to return to college.
The process was not all smooth travels. For acceptance into graduate school, I had to jump several hurdles. I didn’t quite make the cut to test out for automatic admission to the graduate school at The University of Texas at Austin. This meant I’d have to gather letters of recommendation, transcripts, fill out more forms, and meet with the dean in order to be accepted on probation. This required swallowing my pride.
I could have given up at that point. I could’ve said, “Maybe this isn’t meant to be.” I had a brief meeting with the dean as a formality. He nodded, signed a paper, and I was accepted. It was my first inkling that determination is a big part of reaching a goal.
I still would have to make arrangements for the care of three children while I was in class. Most openings in the nice childcare centers were not available just for the summer. I was told, “Parents pay for spots to hold them even if they aren’t using them in the summer.”
The University had an office for “returning students” that gave me a list of 100 childcare centers in Austin. They had everything from tiny home-based centers to large ones. I wasn’t having any luck, until the day I visited St. Martin’s Lutheran.
The elderly director gave me a complete tour. Then she asked, “May I sign up your children?” Stunned I asked, “You know I have three children?” She said she did and I was able to enroll all three in one of the highest quality day cares in Austin.
The last piece in the puzzle was housing. It was too late to qualify for university housing. Time was running out. I had a deadline for getting any of the down payments for tuition and childcare back. Shortly before the last week to back out my old friend who lived in Austin called, “I’ve found an apartment that you can sublet. It is in a complex in the Clarksville area. You can lease it for the summer.”
Even with the pieces coming together I didn’t know how would I manage this major undertaking and all the changes for the kids?
The shuttle bus system ran like a spider-web across the city with stops all over the university campus. Imagine my surprise when I learned the bus stopped at the corner near our apartment and drove directly to the corner of St. Martin’s Lutheran. A bus from the daycare center stopped in front of the education building where all my classes took place. This was truly amazing considering the size of The University of Texas.
The odds of my figuring all that out and making it happen in my own power were slim, but divine synchronicities prepared the way for me. After three summers on our final trek home my children put a poster on the back of our station wagon: “Hurray, hurray. We’re happy as can be. Mom finally finished at UT.”
You may not choose to return to college. You may simply want to get your GED, or prepare a household budget, or you may need to prepare your resume for a job interview. Take baby steps in the direction of your goal. Whatever your goal determination is the key.
I raised three children as a single mother before I remarried. I have experienced the potholes, pests, and perils of being the single head-of-household. As an educator in regular and special education for twenty years I know a great deal about child development and how to handle kids. I am the founder of SMORE for Women, a nonprofit whose goal is Single Moms, Overjoyed, Rejuvenated, and Empowered. I’m also a Certified Professional Coach and my stories have been published in several Christian books and magazines. My book, Living Learning Loving is available on Amazon.