“There is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves. All sorts of things occur to help one that never otherwise would have occurred…whatever you can do, or dream to do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin now”!  Goethe

I have used this quote attributed to the German philosopher, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, with great success in orientation classes of the University of Dayton engineering program, ETHOS, to prepare students for a ten week technical immersion in developing countries. It is something the students refer to years later.

When students first consider joining the ETHOS program there is much anxiety about the cost, the travel to Africa or Asia, and all the health and safety issues involved. And, of course, what will their parents say about this “wild” idea?

The elementary truth referred to in the quote does come into play when we dream. Nobody likes a whiner or someone who cannot even take the decision to try some new thing.

What Providence provides in these cases is overwhelming support in response to the decision to join ETHOS. It results from a relationship that develops once one tells the other about a dream. The relationship is an invitation to participate and doors begin to open that one never knew were there.

In the end, students have a tremendous technical and cultural experience which later shapes how they do engineering. You can see for yourself by checking their reports on the ETHOS website

Some photos were contributed by UD students.


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