I grew up in a household with little expectations for my career. It was a loving environment with a strong work ethic and Christian values, all attributes I am thankful for. As the first born and a …
I grew up in a household with little expectations for my career. It was a loving environment with a strong work ethic and Christian values, all attributes I am thankful for.
As the first born and a girl, with a brother born 14 months later, I felt as if I always lived in the shadow of my brother who was extremely intelligent, athletic, and popular.
My mother was one of 12 children, living on a tenant farmer’s farm where she went to school part-time so that she had time to care for her younger siblings and work the farm. Her upbringing was abusive and controlling.
My father, seven years older than my mother, I believe in many ways saved her from a life of further abuse.
Neither of my parents graduated from college, and while I was never discouraged from furthering my education, I was never encouraged either.
Once I started pursuing college, my parents were supportive and financially assisted as best they could.
Upon graduation, I decided if I was to make a career for myself, I would need to spread my wings and move out of state, which is what I did, moving from Nebraska to Menominee Michigan and then to Marion.
The best mentoring I received was when I moved to Marion, and started crossing paths with professional men and women who lifted me up and guided me.
As an adult I value the traits my parents instilled in me, despite, as a child and teen, yearning for a little more expressions of love or pride. But that would come later as I excelled in my work life.
So, needless to say, when Larry and I started to have children, I was determined to instill a strong work ethic, focus on Christ and a mantra that said you can do anything you desire, and you will graduate from college.
Now, I know, college is not for everyone, and I am thankful, it has proven to be a fit for my three daughters who are well on their career paths.
Laura graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and obtained her Master of Architecture with Concentrations in Historic Preservation and Ecological Design from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Laura is currently working at an architecture firm in Austin Texas.
Andrea graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in Statistics with minors in Mathematics and Sport Marketing and Management and is currently working on her Master of Science in Kinesiology with a major in Athletic Administration and Sport Management at IU.
Marissa will graduate in May from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Accounting degree and begin her Master of Science in Accounting in August at Purdue.
So, while it is important to celebrate Women’s History month, and focus on all the accomplishments of women who have come before us, we must also focus on those girls and young women who surround us.
Are we doing all we can to instill in each of them that they can do whatever they set their mind to, that the sky is the limit?
My challenge to each of you, is to find ways to interact with young girls and women focusing on what they can do and working to empower them to be the best they can be so they too will some day be part of Women’s History.
Pictured Above- Left to Right: Laura Wilk, Marissa Wilk, and Andrea Wilk