Like many of you, I was told as a young child that it is “more blessed to give than to receive.” However, I will confess that I enjoyed ripping the bow and pretty wrapping paper off of a Christmas present far more than I enjoyed giving to others. In fact, as a young child I was not all that enthused about even sharing my toys with others. As I grew older, I began to develop an appreciation for the joy of bringing joy to others. Victor Frankl wrote, “The more one forgets himself — by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love — the more human he is.”
Almost always, success is a direct result of hard work, whether personal or professional. Occasionally, success occurs at the intersection of hard work and preparation with a lucky turn of events. Like the golfer who hooked a shot into the woods only to get a lucky bounce, to end up in the middle of the fairway, and to go on to score a personal best. Such was the case when I was selected as the 20th president of Weatherford College.
I came to Weatherford College with a sincere desire to give back to an institution that had given so much to me. Years earlier as a young student of WC, I was challenged, nurtured, and forever transformed for the better. My professors stretched my mind and fostered a love of learning that would continue throughout my life. Decades later as the institution’s president, I wanted to expand the educational opportunities of current WC students. I wanted to empower faculty and staff and improve their wages and working conditions. I wanted to give students and stakeholders facilities and grounds that would make them proud. And I wanted to give our business community a rich pool of highly qualified employees that they knew would be persons of integrity.
The great irony of my experience as the leader of our noble college was that the more I attempted to give, the more I unexpectedly received. I would try to give love, and I would receive unmerited love ten-fold in return. The more I tried to help others, the more people came out of nowhere to do the heavy lifting of helping others. I would try to give a little joy, and would receive immeasurable joy in return.
I have now embarked on a journey to leave my childhood selfishness behind and to move toward greater giving to others. This holiday season, I challenge myself and all readers of this article to receive the gift of giving. Reach out to widows, orphans, or any of your fellow human beings in need. Give yourself the joy of knowing that you brought a ray of sunshine into someone else’s life. Like me, you might just discover that the life you change the most might just be your own.
Tod Allen Farmer is the president of Weatherford College.