Inspiration Behind Aspiring Hearts Series
What inspired you to write the Aspiring Hearts Series?
I met a woman (only 4 years older than I) who was the daughter of a Czech immigrant sharecropper. Her education was limited because she was forced to stay home from school until the crops were in and all the food preservation completed in the fall. In March, she had to leave school to plant and care for the fields. Her brothers, on the other hand, were encouraged to go to school. Lillian yearned for an education and cried as she watched her brothers leave the farm for class while she was forced to go to the fields.
I was appalled that such things could happen in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. During those same years my parents were encouraging me to seek as much education as possible. When I earned my Bachelor’s Degree, I applied for law school and was turned down flat because I was female. Women denied access to law school in the 1970’s? Unbelievable! But true in many places. Women were also being denied access to medical and dental schools. I found similar bias against women when I applied for a Ph.D. program in English, but I forced my way in. I was assigned an all-male doctoral committee who openly laughed at my plans, assuring me I’d never finish the degree. “You’ll just get pregnant and quit,” they insisted.
They were wrong! After many years of hard work and combating the ever-present, open bias (and even hostility) against women, I earned a Ph.D. from that university. I was the first woman to do so.
I wanted to write about women’s efforts to achieve education and recognition in various fields because I had experienced the battle first hand. Also, I wanted to demonstrate the absolute necessity for mentors and to encourage my readers to be mentors to younger people. I believe that our world needs all the talent which God places here, and we are unwise—to say the least—when we deny anyone the chance for upward mobility. Their achievement can and will better the lives of everyone.