One of the characteristics of being an adult is our ability to solve problems. Some of us handle this task a lot easier than others. It is my opinion that we learn these skills while we are growing up. As early as infancy we watch how our parents handle those difficult life decisions. It is a known fact that as kids they watch more closely than they listen.

The way we handle those problems will determine how successful we are in resolving them. I put my problems in three categories. There are serious problems, not so serious problems and those problems that can’t be solved or are works in progress. By doing this helps me to prioritize these issues. It also helps me to determine if those issues are even mine. There are times, in the heat of a problem, when I claim something that does not belong to me. If it’s not mine I should not be claiming it as mine. This will clear some room in my brain which will keep me focused on me.

Once I have determined what category my problems go into, I begin the process of solving that it. In every problem solving exercise I take a deep breath to calm myself down. For me it is necessary at analyze what is going on. It is important for me to know what I am dealing with. Is this something I can do by myself or do I need help? If I can do this by myself do I have the necessary tools with me? If I need help who is the best person to call?  Sometimes the person on the other side of the phone can help me to determine what category my problem goes into.

Once I have done all this I start the work of solving my problem. Sometimes I can’t solve it on the first try. This usually means that I have not calmed down enough to tackle the problem. Once I have my emotions under control, I can usually move quickly to solve the problem. After it’s solved I always give thanks to God for putting the solution in my head.

It would be difficult for me to give examples of these three categories. Each problem is relative to the individual. A hang nail for me might not seem so serious. If you are a concert pianist or a baseball pitcher, this condition could keep you from performing and earning a living. Therefore, for you, this is very serious. I feel that regardless which of the three groups your problem resides there has to be a thought process in place.  First, we have to become aware that a problem even exists. We can’t live in denial city. Second, we have to design a plan that will bring a quick resolution to the problem.

There are times when my problems fit into the not solvable category. It is not so much that they can’t be solved as it is that I just don’t have enough knowledge in that moment to resolve the issue. In these cases, I put them on a shelf to be dealt with later.

There is nothing that bothers me more than when people use violence or vulgarity to solve their problems. I was on the bus coming home from work. A long the way, at one of the stops, two adults and four kids got on. They took seats in the back where I was. One of the kids was talking nonstop. I was not paying attention to what she was saying. All of a sudden one of the adults turned to that kid and told her to “Shut the f…. up”. You could see on the faces of the other riders’ that we were all in shock. I personally felt that this was not the way to handle whatever was going on.  You could hear a pin drop on that bus. The bus driver even stopped the bus, came in the back where we were and asked the adults if they were having problems with their kids. The driver returned to her seat after the adults told her everything was alright. They got off the bus a few stops later. My worst fear is that kid will use that same technique when she is confronted with a problem.

One day on our way back from visiting my parents in Queens, we blew a tire just before we were to get off the highway. The whole situation was my fault because not only did not have a spare, I was not paying close enough attention to what was going on with that tire. I dialed 911 on my cell phone and a tow truck came to remove us from the bridge. Here in NYC each bridge is assigned tow trucks and their job is to only take you off the bridge and this is what this tow driver did. He hooked us up and set us down on a street away from the bridge. What made it neat is that since we could not ride in the car, a police car gave us a ride off the bridge. I thought that my kid would love this experience. To our amazement the back seat of the police cruiser was hard, uncomfortable plastic. I could understand why the car was made that way but it made for a not so fun ride.

We had to call another tow truck to take us from where we were to our street. That was a lot more fun. That driver wheeled and dealed through the streets and set that car in a spot that put my parallel parking skills to shame.

The next day, with my kid in tow, I removed the damaged tire. I had to replace it because it was badly damaged. We rolled it to a garage, had it fixed, put it back on the car and we were ready to go. I purposely did this with him so he could learn how to solve this problem. Although on the inside I was nervous about how I was going to solve this issue, on the outside he watched as I moved to resolve this situation a quickly as I could.

As positive parents it’s our job to teach our kids how to solve problems. It is a known fact that our kids watch us more intently than they listen to us.  If we curse or use violence every time a crisis arises, our kids will think that is the way to handle issues. This holds also holds true also if we positively handle our issues. If our kids see us calmly and methodically handling our problems, they will do the same. It can be more effective if on some occasions they see that the problem was solved.




  • I love the technique of sitting back and breathing when you have some type of problem to solve.This helps you think before you act in a way that you did not want to be intentionally.Plus like my motto says,kids will only pick up with they experienced first hand in that certain situation initially. We have to be the best role models for our kids and do not assume that they will be the perfect child without us teaching them properly.You are being the best positive role model and parent in my book.Great story and I look foward to more!

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