Problems are Assets
Seize the Problems

I love teaching and have for a quarter-century. However, imagine how I felt when one of my students was Ti Ti, my granddaughter. I was teaching an online class, and Ti Ti attended the course online from her home in Inle Lake, Myanmar. I talked to my dean today about my excitement about how well she did in the class. Ti Ti has been accepted at the college where I’m teaching. All she needed yesterday was to be interviewed at the US Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar, for a student visa. Her classmates knew all about her hopes and fears. Soon Ti Ti would be in the States. This is what I posted in the announcements today to our class.

Dear Class,
This is an update regarding Ti Ti getting her student visa. It didn’t go as we had hoped. That means I will send one of my mentors a litany of articles, videos, and pictures regarding Ti Ti as a person and student. He and I have never met, but I am convinced he will resolve the matter quickly. In the meantime, this is a picture of Ti Ti’s office. Ginger is impatiently waiting for Ti Ti’s arrival.

Desk area front

This is another photo of her desk area.

Desk area side

Ginger is a brilliant Irish Setter and can least to me. She noticed a Christmas nativity scene that I put on Ti Ti’s desk. Ginger knows the story but suggested I tell Ti Ti that it was the baby Buddha in the cradle.

Desk area top

Whether Ti Ti buys Ginger’s story is questionable, but what isn’t debatable is my determination to get my granddaughter to the States quickly to get her college education. For you, this issue of Ti Ti is a backstory. It doesn’t affect you directly. However, it is an excellent example of having a reason for being.

Finally, let me tell you about when Ti Ti arrives and sits at her desk for the first time. She will express her sincerest appreciation and happiness to her Papa Al. I will reply that I am happier than she is. Trust me, that is the truth. One of my mantras I have mentioned all semesters is a saying I came up with years ago. It is in giving that we get. Don’t you forget that saying. We all need to get away from living for I and moving to live for we.

It has been a great time working together this semester. Enjoy the winter break but stay in touch.

There I was after months of anticipation to discover the person who rejected Ti Ti’s student visa application and told her to try again next time. She thought that the embassy person was concerned about our relationship. Well, our relationship is based upon my love for my granddaughter, her two younger sisters, and their love for me. That is what our relationship means to Ti Ti and me.

Granting a student visa is primarily up to the embassy personnel. The rules give a great deal of latitude to decide to whom they issue student visas. Essentially, they don’t have to answer to anyone.

It parallels the Supreme Court not disclosing what all the lower courts have to provide to the public. The Supreme Court is governed by...the Supreme Court. The Gallop Poll finds the Supreme Court’s approval rating is half the number of those who disapprove of the court.

There is nothing that I can say to the American Embassy in Yangon. They have a carte blanche regarding who is granted a student visa. I’m a nobody in the grand scheme of things. Nevertheless, I love my granddaughters, along with their parents. We are family, and we will help each other.

However, I have a mentor who can ask questions and probe into the embassy’s telling Ti Ti to try again to get a student visa some other time. My mentor doesn’t know me or anything about Ti Ti’s situation. Nevertheless, I will have supplied him with a sizeable legal brief by the beginning of the week.

So, that is the backstory. Even though this is an emotional issue for a granddaughter and her grandfather, it doesn’t affect anyone else. However, Ti Ti’s situation exemplifies how pain is one of our greatest assets. Pain motivates us. If you want to help your granddaughter or anyone, pain is the best thing you have going for you. The more pain, the more drive you will have.

It does several things for you. It shows that you want to resolve some issues due to your pain. Putting your life on the line demonstrates to others your love and concern for them. Pain is your greatest asset. Trust me. I plan to use my pain to benefit Ti Ti. Look around in your world and reach out to those that need your help.