Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Are we complainers or Problem solvers

Here are some insights from my new blog

The weekly Torah=Bible reading of Beha'alotcha from the book of Numbers relates various complaints against God that the children of Israel had in the desert.
The people had 'manna' from heaven as their food. They began to complain about the lack of meat and vegetables recalling  the vegetables that they got ' free' in Egypt.

 On the other hand , the Torah tells us that there were those who expressed a certain sadness and disappointment on not being able to contribute and participate in the 'pesach=pascal sacrifice. This sacrifice was a symbol of the covenant between God and his people culminating in the redemption from Egypt. They could not participate in the pesach=pascal sacrifice because they were impure. This impurity was caused by their carrying Joseph's coffin. Aaron, Moses brother was also depressed that he and his tribe were not invited to contribute offerings to the newly established tabernacle in the desert.

As parents and teachers we should be helping kids to deal with the challenges and frustrations of life. CPS – the collaborative problem solving approach is a great way to give kids these cognitive problem solving tools. But just as important we should help them with an approach, and a philosophy to life's problems, disappointments and frustrations.

Are we ' complainers' who express frustration and feel deprived? Or do we see life's problems as challenges, problems to be solved, and opportunities to grow? Are mistakes our friends, which provide learning opportunities, and do we  say failure is not in the falling, but not getting up? Are we frustrated that we are being deprived and did not ' receive '  something or are we disappointed because of  missed opportunities to ' give ' and make a contribution to others.

The basic difference between the ' complainers ' and ' problem solvers'  is how they respond to reality. Complainers try to fight reality and this is usually takes the form of a lot of emotional negative statements and complaints – ' He shouldn't….. why did he …. Why can't I …., why don't I have ……   .  Problem solvers don't try to fight reality. They accept reality , they accept heavenly decrees. This liberates them emotionally from any negative feeling and sets the stage for problem solving.

Instead of complaining about your kids , accept the reality that ' kids do well if they can ' and not kids do well if they want to '  = ( the CPS approach mantra). Now you are emotionally free of the ' he shouldn't being doing that …', he is not trying hard enough.., he shouldn't be so rude and defiant… etc to ask what is getting in my kid's way , how can I help him.

One of the ways to solve a problem is to ask for help. Complainers don't ask for help. They generally express a lot of negativity and their complaints are not really problems to be solved but are symptomatic of the problems they have with life itself.

Modeling and teaching collaborative problem solving skills and an approach to life's problems and frustrations we can help our kids and ourselves to be Collaborative Problem Solvers and not Complainers.

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