Tag Archives: Philosophy

Reigning Rainy Days

29 Mar
(Courtesy of boomwallpaper.com)

(Courtesy of boomwallpaper.com)

“Rain, rain go away! Come again some other day!” A nursery rhyme I’ve sung on many occasions. Rain ruins plans for picnics, baseball games, outdoor weddings, etc. Rain can reign over our plans for the weekend like it is doing in the Philadelphia, PA area currently. But instead of focusing on how rain can put a damper on the weekend, let’s try to focus on the positive side of the rain.

  1. At least it’s rain and not more snow.
  2. Rain will help to wash away any remaining snow.
  3. It is great for those spring flowers that will be blossoming soon.
  4. Without rain, we just might have a water shortage.
  5. Rainy days make great indoor movie or game time with family or friends
  6. You get a free car wash.
  7. Rain gives us a chance to use that nice raincoat, umbrella or pair of galoshes we purchased.
  8. You’re never too old to run in the rain and splash in the puddles with that nice raincoat, umbrella or pair of galoshes.
  9. The rain allows you to have a greater appreciation for the sunshine.
  10. You just might see a rainbow once the rain has ended.

Are rainy days already reigning over your plans? Hopefully one of my reasons will help to make your day a little brighter in spite of the rain.

All the best,

Tanya

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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

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

Is Late Really Better Than Never?

1 Feb

Late“I’ll get there when I get there,” people utter. Students protest, “I was only five, fifteen, thirty minutes late.” “Yes, your car should have been ready by 1:00 pm, but we’re backed up, so it’ll be more like 5:00 pm,” is what I was told just yesterday after waiting since 11:00 am with my baby girl whose patience was wearing thin (not to mention my patience).  Some people must truly live by the phrase “Better late than never,” but I, in most cases, absolutely deplore it.

Of course, we may all run late once in a while, but more and more people, at least in the tri-state area of Philadelphia, PA, have no regard for people’s time and see being habitually late as just a part of life. Admittedly, I am one of those type A personalities who tends to show up early to events to ensure that I am not late, so this could attribute to my lack of tolerance for lateness. But it is also because I value and respect people’s time. I wish there was a way for people who have no problem with regularly being late to see how their actions negatively impact others.

Let’s consider if that cliche phrase “Better late than never” is always applicable. Being late involves more than just annoying or inconveniencing the other person who is patiently waiting. Before you blow off being late and view it as no big deal, think about the domino effect it will have on those directly and indirectly involved.

All the best,

Tanya

PS.  One of my biggest pet peeves is lateness, and this week, I’ve had quite a few issues with people being late and needed to vent a little. Thanks for reading.

The Frozen Door of Opportunity Just Won’t Open!

14 Dec

Frozen Car DoorWho hasn’t heard the phrase, “When opportunity knocks, answer the door?” or “When the door of opportunity opens, be ready to walk through it?”  Not many people talk about what to do when the door is “technically” open yet frozen shut making it difficult to open. Well, I now have first-hand knowledge with this experience and can offer a couple of tips.

This past Tuesday, it not only snowed in Philadelphia, PA and the surrounding areas, but the temperature has been well below freezing throughout the course of this week.  With this being said, even with keyless entry, my frozen car doors have not been opening with ease. So what do I do; most would answer, pull a little harder on the door handle. Initially, this may seem logical, but it is not always the best choice.  I tugged a little harder, and the door did not budge, so I yanked a bit more forcibly.  If you are heavy-handed like me, I definitely do not suggest this method as I managed to break off my rear door passenger handle pulling so hard.  Needless to say, this upset me quite a bit.  Why wasn’t I more patient?  Why didn’t I ask someone for advice on what to do to open a frozen car door or look for a Youtube video on it?  Though this is an experience I wish I didn’t have, I have been thinking about what I can learn from it.

  1. Even when a door “should” be open, you need to be mindful of your own strength.  If you break off the door handle, you will make it even more difficult to open that door of opportunity or may need to find another method to get to that opportunity.
  2. Sometimes, when we are extremely passionate about something or allow it to consume us, (I would not rest until I got the door open instead of giving a few tugs then walking away) it may bring about unexpected problems and detours on the road to opportunity.
  3. Don’t allow being ashamed if you break off the handle trying to open the door to deter you from opening other doors. Since I was younger, I’ve always been known as heavy-handed and as a bit of a klutz.  I was so embarrassed when I broke off the handle and still am, but I am grateful it was not the driver side door nor the front passenger side door. Also,m I can still get to my destinations.

I am glad that I was able to take this experience and apply a life-lesson and hope that it may help others who are trying to open up those frozen doors.

All the best,

Tanya

Case #1: Judge versus the Jury

16 Nov

judge-orders-“Only God can judge me! People are always hating! No one asked for your opinion! It’s my life!” are phrases most people have uttered or at least heard uttered at some point in their lives. Lately, I’ve been scrutinizing my own actions and think a trial is in order.

Though I try my best to be positive, supportive and motivational, there have been times when I’ve been accused of judging and wonder if those accusations were valid and if I should be concerned with being perceived as a judge. Needless to say, I am apprehensive about being a judge, but how can I live life without judging? Just about everything involves it; from grading papers to taking time to evaluate my own actions, I cannot escape it.  Judging is one of the ways that we are able to improve ourselves and quality of life and to make sure we are on the right track.

I often wonder why it is acceptable and even welcomed when people are judged in a positive way such as a compliment about an outfit, hair, performance at work, parenting skills, etc..  Who ever stops people and questions why they are judging them when it is something positive? Of course,  when people point out any flaws or shortcomings, most would dismiss them as unwelcome judgments and suggest that these people mind their own business.

When it comes to the justification of judging, I think it is always important to consider the intention of the person who is playing the role of the judge and the significance this person has on your life.  Is the person trying to lift you up or tear you apart? Regardless if the judgment is negative or positive, is it being presented in a kind and caring way or cruel and insensitive?

It is important to consider if you are deflecting the real issue by focusing on this “so-called judge.” Why is it that whenever we are called out on something negative or counterproductive, like being procrastinators, habitually late or even harshly judging others with hurtful intentions, we are upset when somebody has the audacity to judge us? Why can’t it be that they love us and hold us accountable for our actions or to a higher standard than we may hold ourselves?  If everyone only provided positive judgments, would simply relying on how we judge ourselves be adequate? Sometimes, how we judge ourselves and see ourselves is way off base, and we need those “judges,” who God may place in our lives, to hold up those mirrors and reflect back what we refuse to see is really there.

As I take some time to deliberate further, please feel free to share your views on this touchy topic.

All the best,

Tanya

Do I Have to Spell it Out for You?

31 Aug
Misspelling

Where is the “Cutomer” Service Desk?

While many people, especially those forty and under say, “Why do I need to know how to spell? I got spell check and auto correct,” I am trying to come up with ways to get students under my “spell” stressing the importance of not only spelling correctly but proofreading for often confused words and grammar issues as I prepare for the fall 2013 semester. It really can impact one’s ability to communicate clearly and effectively.

Of coarse, sum people take it fir granite that spell check will catch there miss stakes. Than they submit there resumes wit misspellings and wander why they don’t be gettin called in for intervues. They might be gud at wat dey do and have a grate work ethic, but the resume screener ain’t gonna get past the spelling issues cuz ain’t nobody got time fa that!

Even if you get the job u mite confuse costumers with ur mis spellings, text language and confused wurds like dis photo of da advertised posting i snapped looking to hire people at the local supermarket. We all know that auto core (this was supposed to say’ “auto correct,”but that is what auto correct came up with ;-)) don’t be always sayin wat we wanna say, so why not proofread? or is it that people be bein lazie and say, “u no wat i mean!”

Is spelling correct a dying art along with grammer, mechanics and basic proofreading as moor and more people simply except misspellings as da nu standard? Admittedly, I think its cool to use slang and text language cuz it is a language in and of itself, but the ability to cold switch, composing documents free of misspellings, grammar an mechanical errors for professional purposes or even to git ya point a cross clearly, is essential.

i refuse to believe that i am a loan wit dis concern and dat standard english and spelling words correctly will one day be considered archaic and that I will than be come a english historian providing in cite on wat once wuz. u kno wat i mean?

Best,

Tanya

PS. I hope you noticed the plethora of misspellings and grammer issues in dis post. Wich ones did u spot? Were there times wen u paused to figure out wat i meant cuz of the misspellings?  Du i got u under my spell?

Please! Say Thank You for What?

24 Aug

Thank-you-post-it“Excuse me sir, sir…” He sped up his pace as though I was a criminal trying to accost him. Out of breath and panting a little as I hurriedly moved up the aisle on the Regional Rail Train, I gestured with his nearly $200 monthly trail pass in my hand, “Your trail pass sir, you left your trail pass!” Finally, he turned around upon reaching the exit of the train, took the pass out of my hand and headed off of the train without a smile, a thank you or even a head nod to suggest that he was grateful for my act of kindness.

Though this was a few years ago I still can recall how upset I was. Actually, I was angry; the nerve of this man not offering me a sincere thank you! But then I thought about one of the vocabulary words I learned from my sophomore year in high school: altruism, which is the act of giving and being kind for the sake of giving, not because you expect anything in return. I can’t do things, be they small or large, expecting gratitude from others but because it is in my heart and the right thing to do.

As much as I try to embrace this line of thinking, it is not always easy to abide by it. Yes, it makes me feel good to help someone out, but it makes me feel even better when the person acknowledges it. I wonder, am I the only one who gets a little annoyed when I hold open a door for several people, and not one person says thank you. What about when there’s a lot of traffic, but I slow down to let that one car in as traffic is merging and do not get the “thank-you-for-letting-me-get-in-hand-wave?”

Sadly, I am finding that more and more people are far from gracious or do not deem it necessary to offer a thank you. Some people have the, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” mentality and choose to meet rudeness with rudeness. I understand this take, but instead I have chosen to be even more gracious and come up with ways to demonstrate it and be a shining example for my daughter and anyone with whom I may come in contact because I want her to learn that please and thank you can go a long way.

Thanks for reading 😉

All the best,

Tanya

We’re All Made to Matter: Tribute to My Dear Friend Sandy

23 Aug

Four_Fundamental_States_of_MatterEverything around us, regardless of how large or small it may be, truly matters.  To demonstrate this, if you take the preposition in the title of this post “to” and change it to “of,” it completely changes the meaning of the sentence. Even the definition of matter depends upon the context of the sentence.

Matter can be a solid, liquid, gas or plasma; this of course includes humans. However, I am intrigued with the idea of matter mattering. Let me explain. I have seen how my actions, be they simple or complex, can impact someone’s life in a positive or maybe even a negative way (of course this is never my intention) and how people can do the same for me.  This is especially true when it comes to family, friends and coworkers.

Sandy and Me

Sandy and Me at her Son’s First Birthday Party

Someone who mattered to me was my dear friend and office mate Sandy.  Sadly, she lost her two year battle with colon cancer late yesterday evening, and when I think about how she lived her life and how she impacted the lives of others, I find it hard to believe that we, as well as our actions, do not all matter.  She was such a caring person who willingly showed me the ropes when I was first hired as a full-time tenure track professor and welcomed me to the office, literally, with open arms (she gave me a big hug) saying, “It’s so wonderful to meet you Tanya.”  That interaction alone mattered as I was feeling anxious and intimidated as a tenure track faculty member and trying to find my way. Inviting me into her home to meet her family and to even film the first birthday parties of her two little boys also mattered.  Coming into the office to a surprise box of marshmallow peeps (one of my guilty pleasures) courtesy of Sandy made me feel like I matter. There are many more instances, but I will keep it at these three.

She, being the selfless, humble and giving person that she was, never thought twice about helping me or anyone else out. How brave she was as she fought the great fight, never complained and always looked on the bright side!  I often told her how inspirational she was and how I admired her positive outlook on life.  It breaks my heart that I will be starting this semester without my friend and office mate and that her husband will be left without his wife and her two little boys will be left without their mommy, but I am grateful that I was able to tell her how much she mattered to me while she was still here. Please be sure to tell those you care about how much they matter to you. Though I am certain that you, along with your actions, matter to someone too, if no one has told you how much you matter, then allow me to say, “You do matter!”

All the best,

Tanya

Baby I Got This: Watch Me Handle My Goals!

17 Aug

Quinn V. Franklin

“Sometimes you’ve got to think outside of the box,” people say.  This especially applies to achieving difficult, new or what seems to be unattainable goals that require a steadfast approach, but many of us do not actually apply this concept.  Is this because the ability to “think outside of the box” is innate; either you are adept in this area or not?

Watching my baby girl Quinn tackle one of her first goals of getting her pacifier back in her mouth is what got me pondering about this.  Though she is three and a half months now (15 weeks and one day to be exact), rather than just put the pacifier in her mouth when she cries and screams for it, I will guide her hand to put it in her mouth or put her hand on the pacifier while it is in her mouth to hold it there, which is something I observed her doing for the first time when she was just a little over a month old.  I will say, “You hold” or “Use your hand” to help her make the association with words. The idea is to give her a chance to figure it out on her own and to see what she is capable of doing.

Quinn V. Franklin

Quinn holding in her pacifier all by herself

However, in the past few weeks, I noticed that Quinn was not simply using her hand to retrieve the pacifier, but she was using her bib or receiving blanket to assist her with pushing it back in her mouth, which is something she has been doing more and more frequently on our morning stroller walks.  How creative is that!?  If I automatically just put the pacifier back in her mouth, I would not have witnessed Quinn’s innate ability to “think outside of the box.”    No one taught her this technique she uses to retrieve the pacifier, and she certainly did not see another baby do it.  She just reached a point where she either did not want to wait patiently for someone else to put it back in, was acting out of frustration or just said, you know what, let me see if I can do this on my own.

When it comes to achieving goals, regardless of how small or large, I typically follow what I was taught to do.  Even though this is not necessarily a bad thing, I wonder how much more successful I would be at achieving my goals if I went more with instincts and what comes natural?  There truly are some benefits to being new to the world and seeing everything with fresh eyes.  Come to think of it, babies do not have to think outside of the box because they do not even know that this “box” exists!  Thanks so much baby Quinn for helping me consider new, innovative ways to achieve my goals!  I just had to share this epiphany with others and hope this idea has you (potential readers of this entry) thinking outside of the box too!

Best,

Tanya