Parents. My parents grew up in the American “baby boom.”
They lived in the midst of a culture expanding its global reach.
But for each of them, life remained relatively contained
to their families’ own little corners of the world.
Both grew up
in almost pastoral images
of God blessed America.
However, these were hardly the “families”
of Steinbeck… or even Kafka.
I think about the challenges that my parents faced and the therefore miraculous state of my life now. I am graduating from the most prestigious university in the world, aware of how little I know, but motivated to bring an end to the extreme poverty of this world. My hopes dwell in the realm of technology – the bits of systems and networks. The hacking of a kernel or applying a well-tested patch are the hobbies of my day. But these are not my passion.
In Malcolm Gladwell’s The New Yorker “Annals of Innovation: How David Beat Goliath”, we see that the underdogs win by breaking the rules. Throughout history, entire nations have exhibited this little hidden truth. And my family has been no different. Beaten and left nothing, quite literally, my parents managed to pull themselves up from the bottom of this society’s barrel to offer me not the reflection of their own youth but rather the hope that a recovering nation and world longed for.
This sort of hope and faith is what motivates my research as well. It’s the mission to be a vehicle for hope, like my parents, for those in the world who are the least, the lost, the lonely… the forgotten. My hope is not for “one off” Westernized solutions applied to a “created” problem but rather a real, breathing, living need. I’m looking to address well-researched questions and problems and challenges. I know that I’m not the only person hoping to save the world or at least make it a better place. But I know too, from my own family’s experiences, fighting as the underdog makes life more interesting.