Tag Archives: Epiphany

What My Students Taught Me

10 May

The pastStack of Essays month has been filled with hectic office hours and a deluge of  research papers trying their best to overwhelm me. My ability to be stern yet empathetic has constantly been challenged by the plethora of excuses regarding late papers. Upon wanting to let out a deep sigh along with a grumble, I received a visit from a former student who was genuinely concerned when he heard I had broken a bone in my wrist recently. Though he did not earn an “A” in my course, he shared how he always  left my class feeling like he actually learned something.

He was the first of quite a few visits and emails within the past couple of weeks from former and current students offering praise and appreciation for my teaching skills. As much as I do look forward to the summer break, I sincerely do love teaching and being able to have a positive impact on my students. My students have taught me that even when it may not seem like I am getting through to them, I am. The end of the semester three ring circus is worth it for all of my students as they keep me rejuvenated and looking forward to the semesters to come.

All the best,

Tanya

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Don’t Let the Little Things Break You

3 May

 

Tanya H. Franklin

Me Wearing One of the Many Cast Sleeves I Created

In life, things are not always as bad as they seem, but there are times when they are much worst. Not long ago, I posted an entry entitled, “Preparing for the Fall in the Winter” on how I sprained my wrist but did not allow it to get the best of me. A little over a month passed, and the pain was not subsiding. After having an MRI done, I found out that I actually broke a bone in the wrist of my dominant hand. This was a shock. As I mentally prepared for having to wear a cast, the doctor informed me that I had a scaphoid fracture through the proximal pole: an area that will not heal on its own. As a result, I had surgery done a few weeks ago where a 20 millimeter screw was put in my wrist along with having to wear a cast for a while.

Needless to say, this was upsetting. How could this little slip and fall and this little fracture cause me so much pain and aggravation? For a little while, I sulked and wondered why this happened to me and how I would be able to perform daily tasks, especially with a baby. But I did not stay in this place for long. Shortly after my surgery, I was watching a special on the Boston Marathon Bombing and how people were not only traumatized but lost limbs. Watching interviews of people remaining encouraged and determined put things into perspective for me. I decided that I was not going to allow this break to “break” me. So I’ve been making cast sleeves (which has been a lot of fun), drinking milk, eating healthy and being positive in my thoughts and actions. Some people say, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I say, “When life gives you a broken bone and cast, rather than complain, get creative, have fun and decorate it.”

All the best,

Tanya

Avoiding the Potholes of Life

5 Apr

PotholesWaiting for the snow covered road to be plowed and cleared takes patience. Dealing with the plethora of potholes that follows the snow takes not only patience but skillful navigating and being circumspect. This year, in  the city of Philadelphia and nearby areas the potholes seem insurmountable. Nevertheless, they do serve a genuine purpose.

Potholes force us to slow down and pay close attention to our surroundings. Sometimes, we’re driving along, and the car in front of us may swerve to avoid a pot hole. Not paying attention and failing to do the same could result in a blown out tire or even an accident. Going the speed limit is fine, but potholes force us to use common sense. If there are a series of potholes, switching lanes or decelerating is necessary if you do not want to ruin your shocks. These potholes represent more than just a nuisance; they are an analogy for those moments in life when we need to be attentive or risk sustaining damage to different aspects of our lives. When we are speeding along, they slow us down and give that jolt we need to keep going on.

All the best,

Tanya

Split Second Decisions Hoping for Second Chances

22 Mar

Day-in-60-SecondsSingle moments can forever change our lives. Do you recall times of just wishing you could change the last few minutes leading up to that trivial decision? Just a few days ago, I received some disturbing news which made me think about how our split second decisions can impact the course of our lives.

A young woman and former student I mentored for two years was on the front page of a newspaper for allegedly shooting at the father of her one year old child while he was holding the baby. Neither of them were injured, yet this is a very serious crime. Of course, I do not know the circumstances  surrounding this event which could have ended far more tragically, but I do know that this decision which was acted out in a matter of seconds will forever change her life and the lives of those involved directly and indirectly.

Even though I was mainly her mentor while she was enrolled at the college, she was always respectful and sweet towards me, and stayed in contact after she left the college. What pushed her to this point? I wonder if there’s something more that I could have done to offer guidance or support. What if I took a few more seconds out of my day to reach out to her? Would her decision had been different? People get so busy with their lives, including me from time to time. As much as I make an effort to be there for others, there usually is someone who may be going through a difficult time, yet I was negligent in making the time to even be aware that they needed my support.

Sometimes, the decisions we make or choose not to make do not allow for second chances. It only takes a few seconds to change the course of not just our lives but the lives of others for better or for worst. Regardless of the outcome, I am hopeful that she will learn and grow in a positive way from this experience and will not allow her split second decision to dictate the course of the rest of her life.

All the best,

Tanya

Driving Me Away!

15 Mar

Tanya Harris aka AnonomzMost of us are excited when we purchase a new car or even a used car. We make sure it’s always polished and clean inside and out. The maintenance is done without delay, and we’re overly conscientious making sure there are no scratches or dings on its exterior. The car takes care of us, and we take care of it. As time goes by, however, regular wear and tear occurs, and no matter how much effort we put into maintaining our vehicles, problems, some unforeseen and some imminent, drive a wedge between us and the car we once loved.

I’ve had my present vehicle for a little over eight years and am grateful for all of the many places it’s allowed me to go. It took me on my interview at the college where I now work six years ago. It took me to the hospital to give birth to my daughter almost a year ago. Without it, I would have missed some of the best moments of my life. For a good while, I’ve been driving without a car note which has been wonderful. Unfortunately, within the past year, my car has had one problem after another causing me to put  a substantial amount of money into it as though I’m paying a car note. Lately, I’ve begun to question if it is worth it and if I am better off getting a new vehicle.

The more I deliberate over this decision, the more I connect it to relationships. Most start off where everything is wonderful, just like a smooth ride. We’re happy, do what we need to do to maintain those relationships, yet regular wear and tear occurs. This is typically where some of us are ready to “trade in” the relationship while others are willing to invest a little more time since the relationship has had good moments. Then there are instances where some major problems occur that require much more than basic maintenance.  Some problems may be so costly that they’re not even be worth fixing. Nevertheless, we hold onto some relationships for longer than we should because of the wonderful moments we had in the past,  they are convenient, we’ve invested a lot of time or even money or we are just hesitant to start new ones. Of course, people are not cars and have more value, but I do wonder how many of us keep relationships going when so many issues in them are driving us away. I know I’m guilty of doing this. Are you?

All the best,

Tanya

Is What You Perceive What You Believe?

8 Mar
Duck! Rabbit!

From Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld

Not long ago, I attended a workshop  where the presenter displayed a picture of what appeared to be a duck to some and a rabbit to others. Though he said there was no right or wrong answer, I still wonder why I saw the rabbit first? Today, I read a passage in my Taoism book about how there are no objective viewpoints because our perceptions always get in the way. This is very true because I’ve learned that my perception has the power to dictate the direction in which I am headed or not headed.

When I was a child and into early adulthood, I struggled with low self-esteem and simply felt isolated.  Often, I convinced myself that I was not good enough and allowed my own perceptions to control me and how I interacted with people.

Getting beyond my negative perceptions of myself, some of which sadly were perpetuated by others, was a major hurdle to overcome. Clearly, my perceptions impacted my actions and reactions. If I said I am overwhelmed, I felt overwhelmed. If I believed no one liked me, no one liked me. If I thought I would not achieve a goal, I would not achieve the goal, and if I did, then it was luck. A little over a decade ago, I became more cognizant of my thoughts and perceptions. Instead of looking at a situation and feeling defeated, I came up with motivational affirmations and focused on the positive aspects of my life and life in general to keep me moving forward. This is a practice I still employ today.

Sometimes I wonder what my life would look like if I figured out the power of believing what I perceived years ago. How many more achievements would I have? How many more lives could I have impacted in a positive way? Then I realize that I am missing the point and should just be in this moment enjoying all of the many blessings in my life.  No, my life is not “perfect,” but I am so grateful for the life I have. We all are given the opportunity to create our own perceptions, and I have chosen to perceive my life as wonderful. What do you believe about yours? Do you see the rabbit or the duck?

All the best,

Tanya

The DIY (Destination is Yours)

25 Jan
Home Show 2014: Ahmed Hassan, baby Quinn and Tanya Franklin

Home Show 2014: Ahmed Hassan, baby Quinn and Me

Last week, I went to the Philadelphia Home Show excited to attend  Ahmed Hassan’s presentation. He’s the former host of the hit show  from  the DIY Network, “Yard Crashers,” so I had a few questions about my yard and secretly hoped to be granted a free botanical masterpiece. Though no yard makeovers were given, he offered the audience something else, something special.

Ahmed  passionately and candidly discussed what roads he took to get to where he is today.  I found it to be quite admirable of him to disclose not only his triumphs but struggles with us prior to answering questions about landscaping or the excitement that comes with being a TV host. Listening to him made me feel like I am on the right path.  Many people get so caught up in where they are in life, yet they may not know or even consider what it took to get there.

Even in knowing where we would like to end up, it’s tricky because some maps are still being drawn out as we carry out our journeys; there are hills, valleys and terrain yet to be discovered.  As we come across them, we will eventually realize how they helped us get a littler closer to where we want to be, which is absolutely wonderful to me.  As Ralph Waldo Emerson profoundly stated, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Thanks Ahmed for reaffirming this for me.

All the best,

Tanya

Shop ‘Til I Drop: Well Sort of…

18 Jan

empty-cartAre you a shopaholic with tons of shoes and clothes in your closet worn once or not at all. Maybe you’re a therapy shopper who feels better after buying that $500 handbag. Me: I’m a shop-around-see-items-I-like-load-up-my-cart-then-drop it-off-and-not-purchase-one-thing-shopper (The abridged version: “shop and drop shopper”). Yes, it is a mouthful, but sadly, this is who I’ve become, and I just don’t know how to break the cycle.

It all started back in 2006/2007 when I stepped out on faith and left my full time job to follow my passion to teach college courses.  Initially, I only had a part-time position and struggled to make ends meet.  I’ve never been one to spend frivolously, but I learned how to be frugal and only purchase the absolute necessities.  Now, seven years later with a stable position as a full-time professor, my indecisiveness while shopping has heightened for some reason, and I have such a difficult time even making basic purchases.  It has become a joke for anyone who goes shopping with me.  For example, I’ll select cute outfits, shoes, or items at the local Home Goods store, but by the time we are ready to go to the cashier, I have purged most of the items from my cart. My sister will laugh and say, “I knew you weren’t going to really buy anything,” and my husband will make fun of me for deliberating so long over making even a $10 purchase as I try to determine if I really should buy the item. “You can always return it,” he says.  Even though I know this, I still had my latest shop and drop episode this past Friday.

It wouldn’t be so big of an issue if I didn’t shop for a while in a store, load up my cart with reasonably priced and sale priced items that could be considered necessities, not just “wants,” then put most of them back. Later on, I’ll give it some thought, return to the store  and find out that the item I want has been purchased by someone else. I vow to work on this habit of shopping and dropping as I have let too many good deals slip through my fingers.  If you have any advice, please feel free to share.

All the best.

Tanya

I’m All for Seasons!

11 Jan

Tanya ActingThis was one crazy week of winter weather with a high of 8 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday to a high of 61 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday with the occasional snow, sleet, freezing rain or rain shower throughout the week. While some people complained about the cold and longed for warmer weather, others complained about the rain and unseasonably warm weather today.

For me, this weather is an excellent analogy of life’s experiences. Who doesn’t want the weather and seasons to be predictable? Who doesn’t become upset when the meteorologist gets it wrong? This is understandable, but there is something to learn from this erratic weather we’re having. It helps prepare us for the seasons of life: how quickly something can go from cold to hot or from what seems like never-ending rain to sunshine.

As much as I would love to live in a place where it’s always sunny and never cold, the four seasons have taught me so much, especially when spring makes and appearance in the winter.

All the best,

Tanya

Happy “Old” Year: Almost Gone But Never Forgotten 2013!

28 Dec

Happy Old YearWithout fail, as each year draws to a close, I hear several people exclaim that they either cannot wait for the year to be over or for the new one to begin so they can have a fresh start. Many of us come up with resolutions for the new year, vow to do away with a bad habit or to start a good one, but how many of us reflect on the happy moments and achievements of the “old” year? We often let the negativity, misfortune or mishaps cast a dark shadow on all of the wonderful moments we’ve experienced. I refuse to fall into this trap. No matter how large or small the experience, I would like to shout with enthusiasm, “Happy Old Year!”

Thanks 2013; you’ve been extremely good to me. Just to highlight a few moments, I had a healthy, beautiful baby girl and celebrated my second anniversary with my awesome husband. In such a short duration of time, I’ve learned so much from motherhood and am able to apply it to many aspects of my life. The experience has also brought my husband and me even closer together and further strengthened the foundation of our marriage. Thanks for giving me more time with my family so that I may have an even greater appreciation for them. I am grateful for you giving me the opportunity to develop bonds with new friends while giving me the strength to let go of those whose season has passed. After five years of hard work, I’ve achieved tenure as an assistant professor and had two invigorating semesters where I was able to make a positive impact on my students.

Dearest 2013, though I am looking forward to 2014 and the years to come, you will always have a happy, memorable place in my heart.

All the best,

Tanya