Family support on the doctoral journey
I formally began my journey to the doctorate of management four years ago when I finally had a chance to achieve lifelong goal of earning a terminal degree. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to start at age 50, but there were a number of personal and professional goals that I finally had an opportunity to address after a full career as an Army officer.
On a professional basis, I wanted the doctorate in order to improve the scope and depth of my thinking, to earn a credential that would open more doors for me, and which would increase my influence in policy matters within the military college where I teach now that I’ve retired from active duty.
On a personal basis the doctoral journey satisfied a lifelong goal of seeing how far I could go academically. I also wanted to improve my own thinking by taking it apart to its most fundamental level and rebuilding it intentionally and with accountability.
The most important personal goal was for me to demonstrate to my three kids that when I said education was important that it wasn’t just words, but that I actually believed in committing to a lifelong journey of learning. I discovered that this goal was one of the most important factors in helping me get through the program of work, because I wanted my kids to be proud of their father and I wanted them to see the payoff for all my hard work and long hours.
What surprised me a little bit was just how interested they were in the things I was studying and how important it was for me to be able to translate the dry academic topics into interesting discussions with them. This help me make my work come alive and helps me describe specifically just what I found to be so interesting and exciting about my research into critical thinking and education from a management perspective.
With my eldest son entering college in the middle of my program and my middle daughter approaching her senior year in high school, the role of education in creating a rich and full life as well as developing career options came to be a very important dinnertable discussion for us all.
In the dark hours of late-night research, and overlong weekends of digging into the books I found their emotional support to be inspirational and instrumental in me achieving my final goal.
Completing the doctoral journey may be one of the hardest things you ever do but I found it to be richly rewarding for more reasons than I even knew existed when I started the program. I encourage you to share your journey with your family without whose support it may not be possible.
Dr. Ken Long D.M.
March 3, 2012