I am not referring to math problems. I mean everyday problems...situations that pop up unexpectedly. Sometimes when we get older, we get into a pattern-- more of a holding pattern, when it comes to problems. You'd think that age and practice would have taught us to look at things from different angles. But all too often we become frustrated and then fail to use our creativity to our greatest advantage.
Maybe part of it is because we get so serious about problem solving. We get tense, and that shuts down our creative natures. Maybe we are in too much of a hurry--trying to force an immediate solution.
And maybe we have learned a non-productive way to approach problem-solving. The way we think does affect everything. One time I even started to read a self-help book that taught people how to think differently. It appears there is a market for it--so there is probably a need?
And then, maybe...just maybe, it is a little bit of all of that.
Nattie Friday is my favorite day of the week. We like to have little projects. Sometimes we bake, sometimes we do a craft...but this past week, we dumped out a box of Cheez-its brand crackers--the Scrabble ones. And then we proceeded to spell words.
Nattie is a bright girl, and can name most of the letters when she sees them. Recently empowered by her preschool lesson on the letter "A", which somehow made it official that she did know what the "A" was, Nattie went in search of letters familiar to her, naming each as she found them. A great orange heap of letters, facing this way and that, and upside down, slowed her progress.
Amid giggles, we discussed what the letters "said". That was my word from my early school days in the mid 1960s. Now we all know that letters don't really "say" anything. :-)
First up was her name.
Next up, of course, was her mom's name, which was a breeze--even with three of the magical "A"s she had just learned. Next? Her dad's name. Then we searched and searched, but somehow, the letter "H" was not in the box! It had become impossible to spell her father's name!
Natalie said, very matter-of-factly (I know-- "matter-of-factly" is a rather questionable use of artistic word license ;-) "We should spell daddy, because that is what I call him...because...he IS my daddy." Great suggestion! We had "Daddy" sorted out and arranged in a couple of minutes. Then we went in search of m-o-m-m-y. Uh oh! In that big stack, Nattie and I could not find 3 "M"s...only two. While sorting through them, Nattie stopped and said, "Grammie, we can turn a "W" upside down." :-) Yep, the second "M" in "Mommy" is a "W" turned upside down.
I am not only impressed with how quickly she solved those problems, but am fascinated at watching human development blossom in front of me. She is just past turning four years old. This problem solving was not taught to Nattie; it was likely, innate.
I never finished reading the self-help book, by the way. It seems that humans arrive in this world with some ability to solve problems, and then lose it along the way while we are being taught the way to solve problems.
And, to add just a bit more fun to the day, and since the crackers were stale (I found them in the back of the cupboard) Nattie was allowed to toss some of them to the dogs--who, as made obvious in the photo, adore her. And when she is pitching food to them, she is a god among humans. :-)