Finding the Solution

Sarah - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on October 17, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in problem solving. Identifying the problem, breaking it down, and finding a solution. Problem solving is a simple yet fundamental process that makes day to day life go on.

Ever since I was able to talk, my mother stressed the importance of problem solving to me. “Mommy, I lost my Barbie,” I would wine.

“What’s the problem? How can this be prevented? How can this be fixed?” my mom would respond. In my mother’s eyes problem solving is the key to life, the answer to success, and the gateway to opportunities; by problem solving, anything can be done. I had always thought of my mother’s strange “obsession” with problem solving as her way of preparing me for adulthood, but after a life changing experience, I began to understand the true meaning behind her obsession.

It was two in the morning on July 2nd, and my grandmother and I were standing in an empty parking lot on a deserted road. We were stuck there. Our car was beside us but it was no use; all the doors and windows were closed, the keys sat comfortably in the driver’s seat, and the car was locked. But the trunk was open…but how could the open trunk help us?! My grandmother’s car was old and didn’t have a trap door from the trunk into the main part of the car. Both my grandmother and I stood in the dark, deserted parking lot thinking “What should we do next? What is there to do next?” My mind raced back to just a few hours ago when my mother had been scolding me about being able to figure out the solutions to my problems, myself. That was it; problem solving.

I could hear my mother’s voice asking “What’s the problem?” Our car is locked. We don’t have the keys, but the trunk is open. How can this be prevented? Never leave your keys in the car. How can this be fixed? We need to find a way into the car and get the keys. I ran over to the open trunk and began throwing everything out if it. After the trunk had been emptied, I crawled in and began feeling around on the trunk’s backside. I wasn’t sure what I was searching for, a string, a button, a metal latch, anything to get me closer to the car keys. After fifteen hopeless minutes of searching, I sighed, gave one last swipe across the back of the trunk and cut my finger on a small metal latch. Jackpot. Both my grandmother’s and my eyes lit up as the inside of the car became visible once I pulled the latch and the trunk’s back fell forward.

It was not until I was forced to solve a problem without the help of technology, teachers, friends, and family that I was able to realize the importance of identifying the problem, breaking it down, and finding the solution. Simply working through the steps in my mind, I was able to turn a catastrophic situation into a happy and relieved atmosphere. People encounter hundreds of problems each day; we all just need to realize every problem can be solved. Just think about it and don’t give up; there is always an answer.