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Creative Thinking & Problem-Solving

Ruthe Veer, the heroine of my novel, Ruthe's Secret Roses, is quite a resourceful and creative-thinking person. Her family is not in the habit of praising her for such things though, so she only discovers this from her new friends in the city, as she helps them out of their difficulties.

Some of this style of problem solving thinking can be inherited, I've discovered, but much of resourceful, creative thinking can also be learned. It has to do with the kind of questions you ask yourself when confronted with a problem. Finding answers to those questions causes you to solve the problem.

Now don't fool yourself into believing that this is going to be as easy as memorizing the questions, or hiding them on a card in your pocket, and ever after that you'll clear up all mysteries and work every tangled situation into a perfect scenerio of peace, harmony and success. It takes practice to make resourceful problem solving a way of living. It takes trying again and again. You see, the easy answers don't come until you've become quite familiar with the ways that don't work out.

Sometimes you get to study and ponder a problem a long time. Often you don't.

Problem Solving Scenarios

For example, in the novel, Ruthe's Secret Roses, Ruthe struggles for courage to go enter a pulsating disco dance hall - because she feels there is someone in there that needs help. As soon as she enters she does find a girl crouching under the coat rack, who has been stripped of her clothing. Ruthe helps her to her car and drives around and then parks for a long talk. She really doesn't know what to do, but by prayer keeps following the ideas God speaks into her intuition, and after a long talk about God and knowing Him as a Confidant, she takes Muriel to her home. She is able to slip in unseen, still in Ruthe's saggy long cardigan.

A few weeks later, when Muriel calls Ruthe to her mother's death bed, and finds the mother asking for the older sister, Cathy, who has just eloped that night, Ruthe decides to go find her. She takes Muriel and the younger brother Keith along. With some fast thinking, she is able to find and bring Cathy home in time to say good bye to her mother.

Things don't fall into a dull routine long for Ruthe. She's driving down a back alley, empathizing with all the lonely people on that street, when she hears a woman scream. Her creative, resourceful, listening-to-God spirit wins out over her fearful soul, and she dashes up a fire escape to the rescue. But then, after she's punched out the wild man, she has to figure out how to get the inert, unconscious girl down the fire escape bodily.

Like I said, sometimes you just don't get a lot of time to research and figure out creative problem solving strategies!

More Problem Solving Scenarios

Visiting that girl at the hospital, Ruthe finds out that she, Darlin' Bonne, needs a job and a home - that's when she has this brain wave of an idea for a dress design shop in a house.

When June, a friend from the telephone office, where Ruthe works as an operator, wants to move into an apartment with her, but Ruthe knows she's needed at home, - she ends up inviting June to live with her in Kleinstadt and to commute together with her for the summer. That works, but then a better idea presents itself, when Ruthe inherits an old mansion.

Yes, what is she to do with that monstrous three-story stone mansion? Well, with June's help, and a few other friends, Ruthe turns it into a place to bring the girls and women whom she meets that need a place for a fresh start. She also offers it as the location for a summer course in charm and poise for young teen girls.

You get the idea, don't you? Ruthe, the heroine of my book has learned to think creatively and resourcefully in all kinds of situations. If you and I want to do that, we'll have to obey certain guidelines.

Of first importance, Problem Solving Steps

1. Remove resistant, angry, rebellious attitudes - they block a creative spirit.

2. Expand your frame of reference to a difficult situation. Step back to see the big picture and from different angles.

3. Gain insight from God's Word. Lots of answers are hiding in there. Easiest to study is Proverbs, which is full of practical wisdom and godly principles. One of those might be the key to your problem!

4. Design an alternative action that the other parties, particularly the authority figure in your situation will find an advantage. What works for their advantage is going to end up blessing you too.

Remember that better than solving your problems by yourself - is to get good advice and counsel from others.

If your situation only involves you, ask the Lord to give you good creative ideas. He has promised in the Bible (James 1:5) that if we ask for wisdom He will never scold us; it will be given to us.

Collaborative Problem-Solving Activities

If the difficulty confronting you involves other people;

1. Ask them to a meeting at a specific time and place, to brainstorm together and find a solution.

2. Give everyone a chance to describe the problem as they see it. Do not let it become a blaming time.

3. Now ask everyone to name at least two possible solutions, or to suggest resources for solving the problem.

4. Write these all down, regardless of how far-fetched they might seem. The point is that one wild suggestion may open up the creative side of someone else's brain to see a totally new solution that is outside of the box, but so original and perfect that nearly everyone else has to admit it has merit.

5. Allow semi-controlled discussion (bring back those who change the subject), and give the group time to weigh the pros and cons of the various ideas. Encourage even the quiet ones to contribute problem-solving ideas.

6. When one or two ideas take prominence, and there is a sense that the answer lies in them, ask for volunteers to help research them further and make sure which is the best plan of action.

The above collaborative problem solving techniques can take a lot of time in some situations, but many other times, when people have the right attitudes, and are prepared to think this way, the discussion and final decision can come in just moments. The more heads that work together the better the solutions in the end.

You can use these creative thinking patterns for questions about your future, about how to organize your possessions, about how to get along with others, or to get a committee's mandate refined and accomplished. You can work out knotty problems in novels, or short stories, and you can figure out how to discipline a rebellious teen. You can even figure out how to make a living, or create gifts when you think you have nothing out of which to give.

See a Creative Problem-Solver in Action

Again, if you want to watch a person who is resourceful and creative about solving many problems, you'll find my novel just what you need. I believe you'll enjoy following Ruthe around.

You may read sample chapters of my book, Ruthe's Secret Roses online. Or, purchase the e-book to download and read on your computer. (If that doesn't work for you, just email me, we can make a deal, and I'll send it to you on CD).

Of course, I'd be so happy for you to order the softcover paperback from Booklocker!

I've always liked people and wanted to give things away. Having to make do with very little only made me more resourceful in my giving. When I have no money I give of my time and my skills.

But since I've come onto the Internet I've learned many new skills and bits of wisdom, really from all kinds of free sources. I've taught myself web design, ezine publishing, and all kinds of marketing strategies. It's all out there if you know where to look, or are persistant in your hunting.

Times are a-changing, however, and many web sites are starting to charge for their knowledge. Which is only fair. People deserve to be paid for what they do well. Yet, I can't resist saying to anyone who wants my help, "Sure, I'll show you what I know; be happy to!"

Ruth Marlene Friesen

Ruth Marlene Friesen
The Responsible One

Have you seen my novel?

Check out my novel, Ruthe's Secret Roses!

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Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada