I left Orlando’s east side in 2009, and St. Maxmilion Kolby parish in Avalon Park. I had accomplished two Crown Ministry Biblical Financial course presentations there and as I was leaving two more people from those classes stepped up to conduct four more classes, including one in Spanish. Avalon suffered greatly from the 2008 economic crash, with nearly 75% of the new houses built and purchased going into foreclosure. People were hungry for economic education and the courses were well timed to help in the recovery. I wasn’t affected so much by the economic crisis as I was the shutdown of the Space Shuttle program. My job was cut, but also, my wife and I were needed in Ohio to assist her parents.
We knew the move to Ohio was the correct path for our lives immediately. My wife applied for nursing work in Toledo and within two weeks of our decision she was hired, and within four weeks she was there and working. My path would take more time, however. Upon arrival in Ohio I immediately applied to teach in the Columbus Catholic School system. I had taught in Lakeland, Florida at Santa Fe Catholic, and I was already a professional instructor with a MA in Education. I had plenty of classroom experience. What I didn’t have was a MA Theology, which was the first thing the Office of Schools told me I would need before they would consider my resume’. The hunt for the learning was on.
It was two years before I would find a suitable brick and mortar classroom. Ohio Dominican University was the ‘local’ Catholic university with a program. Other schools were in Cincinnati, Dayton, Cleveland, and Steubenville, all some distance drive and half with residency requirements. There were some on-line programs. I wasn’t keen on those because of my other on-line, distance learning experiences. I learn best when I can have conversations with people. Ohio Dominican was the logical choice.
The difficulty with ODU for me was the price, and that I would be paying out-of-pocket. The fee for a single course is $2000.00 for three semester hours, plus student fees, books, and parking. My technician job would not allow that in our household budget. I had to defer a year after first being accepted simply because I couldn’t pay for it. And, considering the Crown/Compass position on taking on loans plus my age (I’m 57 now), it was likely I’d never pay back the loan completely with a school teacher’s salary before a retirement ten years or so hence. I needed to earn more income.
In the eleventh hour (ok, the eleventh month) of the deferral, I was hired into a Quality position with a world renowned manufacturer of gas turbine engines. The pay increase was fifty-per-cent. Now I could pay cash for my schooling. I started into what has become a three-year trek through graduate school, three years after being told this was the requirement to teach. Six years I have invested in this. Six years of patience and effort. S
Seven months before starting my third and final year, with three courses to go, I was told I would be laid off. The good news was I had the seven months before the layoff would be effective. The challenge would be to safe the money I needed for tuition and hold onto it for the time necessary to pay the bills. The school will not hold money on account. I had the time, I had the income. Would I have the discipline? Would anything else require the use of the money?
It has been close, and I’ve paid a few overdraft transfer fees to the bank. The car repair to the air conditioning that broke in July was managed and took savings down to only ten per-cent of what we had in our emergency account. As I write this, I am ready to register for my last semester and pay my fee in full, with an overall expenditure of around $20,000 over the course of study. I was laid off a month ago, and while there was a final bonus, that money is reserved for running the household.
There will be those that say ‘well, you had savings’ and ‘gee, you got a bonus’, or ‘well, you’re just lucky you have a good job’. To naysayers of any persuasion I want to point out that no matter my financial situation or yours, the challenges of discipline where wealth is involved are the same for every one of us. The only difference between someone at/below the poverty level, the middle class laborer, the small business owner, and a Donald J. Trump are the numbers we have to deal with. Crown Ministries/Compass Catholic Ministries, Dave Ramsey, or any other biblical based financial training simply give us more tools to help make good decisions and stick to the discipline of those decisions. At the heart of it all is the discipline of any Judaeo-Christian faith.
Crown/Compass Catholic Biblical financial principles are worthy of our time. They only work, though, when we have faith that whatever happens with our financial gifts from God is meant to serve His work and will. Any doubts in that faith and I would not be finishing school. I have yet to practice my faith’s discipline and accept the work He sends to me to accomplish, whether it’s teaching in His schools or speaking on His behalf in some other venue, and trusting that whatever gift of wealth comes with it will be sufficient for our needs.
God bless all….