Tuesday, May 19, 2015

“Simple Problem Solving”

Planning for the future topic continues…

We’ve had several opportunities in the last couple of weeks to sit together as a family and exercise our planning muscles.  Here is a shortened list of topics:
  • College Admission
  • College Budgeting
  • Vocation
  • College Transportation
  • Summer Volunteering
  • Summer Travel
  • Graduation Party

For a little bit of context, my professional background is program management.  I am the planning pro.  I’ve used several very logical planning methods.  I have a professional certificate and a master’s degree in this discipline.  All of these credentials have NO applicability to planning with a teenager.  Don’t believe me?

I like to start out with a simple problem solving model [because everything we try to plan with a teenager is a huge life or death problem].
  1. Identify the problem or goal
  2. Develop alternatives to solve the problem or achieve your goal
  3. Analyze the alternatives
  4. Select the best alternative
  5. Plan action steps for the best alternative
  6. Execute the steps
  7. Evaluate the results.
Straight forward and simple, right.  Let’s get started.

1. Identify the problem or goal for your future vocation:

Ok, I don’t have a problem, but, well, it’s like, you know, the time when the Nazis invaded Poland and…

Wait.  Wait. Wait.  I thought we were trying to plan your future vocation?

What?  You asked me if I had a problem.

No, I didn’t.  I asked you to define your future work goal.

Oh.  Well, my mind likes to look at the big picture and there are a lot of messed up leaders in the world.  Do you think anybody ever considers the motivations of a dictator?  Did you hear about the mess in North Korea?

What does North Korea have to do with your future work?

Maybe I should consider going to school in Wisconsin.

Stop, stop, stop.  I am lost here.  I need you to give me a list of jobs you might be interested in.

I really should look into scholarships so I don’t have to spend my own college money when I get my degree in International Relations and work for the UN as a Diplomat.

Hey.  Look at that.  We are on step 7.  Good job.  [“Where is the Tylenol?” (Clark Griswold)]

And so goes nearly every simple problem solving activity.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

- What is your plan? -