At McKendree University, we understand and appreciate the effort that fathers put in to raising their children every day. Countless fathers instill courage, strength, and knowledge in their children at an early age and strive to provide the best example for them. We see this every day on our campus, whether it’s listening to colleagues talk about their young ones or seeing all of the hard work and dedication that our students put into both their studies and their families.
Today, we are taking the time to honor our McKendree dads with a spotlight blog on one of our online students and fathers, Bill Robbins!
Bill is currently working toward an MBA and knows all too well the struggles of balancing scholastic and work duties with the duties of fatherhood. The father of four children, ages 19, 17, 16, and 15, Bill has become a bit of an expert at balancing school and home life. He says, “The balance comes from stripping away time previously spent on superfluous activities. There are only 24 hours in the day. Leveled up time management in my career has tightened the attention span for work-related issues and projects; similar time management techniques have helped in streamlining the ‘have-to’ activities like grocery shopping. Being more purposeful with time and efforts allows me to commit fully to work, school, and supporting the efforts and pursuits of my children and not becoming too sleep-deprived!”
Born and raised in Carbondale, Illinois, Bill says that he was fortunate to have his father in his life. “Looking back, I vividly remember how my dad was always there for me, no matter what,” he said. “He was my confidant, my hero, and my most trusted advisor. He rarely told me how to overcome, but he was always there to lend an ear, a shoulder, and the time to share his wisdom, allowing me the space to figure out my best path.”
A father now himself, Bill has loved watching his children encounter and experience new things around them since the time they were born. “It is always a wonder watching as they figure out the world, engage in new things, and grow from those encounters,” he said.
Like just about any father, Bill finds it hard to pinpoint his most cherished memory of raising his children. “I always seem to really remember when they were about the ages of 4, 5, 6, and 8 years old,” he said. “Any time we were out and about, I would often take a particularly old-fashioned, hilly road back to our house. I’d cruise over the hills ever so gently – with just enough lilt to send them into road-tickled laughter. Seeing all four in the mirror having the best time sent me soaring. It’s one of my best memories.” It isn’t surprising that this memory is one of his favorites since Bill tells us that his favorite thing to do with his children is to laugh.
Bill is grateful for the greatest and perhaps most difficult lesson that his father taught him – how to be available to his children without hovering. “The fine line between being supportive and becoming overbearing can be difficult to navigate,” he said. “My goal is for my kids to know that I am always there, and I support their well-made decisions, regardless of the outcome. When I cheer them on, it is not to push them toward something of obligation but to honor their hard work and dedication to their goals.”
To Bill, education means many things – rewarding, encouraging, and yes, in a way, selfish! He said, “Education is one of the most rewarding selfish pursuits. Conventionally, a selfish act does not have a positive connotation. However, education is a personal effort. Even though you are surrounded by others, led by mentors, and shared in tandem with peers, ultimately, the focus is one’s self. Few other pursuits are as fulfilling and rewarding. Additionally, furthering my education is an encouragement to my kids, even as they encourage me. They are seeing my commitment to this degree, and they get to cheer me on. They are seeing for themselves that formal education doesn’t have to end at the first graduation, but rather it is something to continue, be it toward a new degree or skill.”
Bill chose McKendree Online because of our long-established, highly reputable brick-and-mortar institution. “I am fortunate to be able to come to a school with a proven non-traditional program tailored for me,” he noted. “Our professors are top-notch, tuition is affordable, and McKendree is interested in my success. The intentional care and concern embedded in every aspect of the program is evident.”
Upon completion of his MBA, Bill believes that he can invest his degree into his current career trajectory and may even build upon it to pursue a degree in economics or law or maybe something entirely new.
Bill has some advice for those who are thinking about furthering their education – be diligent about mapping out time. “Block the schedule out and be true to the plan,” he said. “Each class has a syllabus to draw on for that plan. Your daily life should have a plan of action as well. Streamline your schedule, reduce the waste, and establish time management habits. Frankly, it takes care of the rest!”
We wish a very happy Father’s Day to all of our McKendree fathers, whether they are students, staff, faculty, or future Bearcats. We hope that you have a wonderful, restful day with your families!