Father’s Day? No Problem.
by Luke McCabe Morrison, Amarillo College
As we approach this Father’s Day I think of fond memories from my childhood. One of those was on many a warm summer evening, as the sun began to set and night sounds emerged, our family would go outside and sit on a large sandstone rock we had where I grew up in Bishop Hills. One of our favorite things to do was tell problem stories. We would take turns as to who would start the story and then continue the narrative as each one of us would “solve the problem” and then create a new problem for the next person to solve.
For example, the problem: “You are walking down a trail in the woods. Suddenly, a big grizzly bear comes out of the bushes and is about to eat you, what did you do?” The solution: “Well, fortunately, I had a candy bar in my pocket; I pulled the candy bar out of my pocket, unwrapped it and waived it at the bear. I then threw the candy bar back into the bushes and ran away when the bear chased after it.”
After solving the problem, the story teller then creates a new problem for the next story teller (switching the narrative from the first person “I” to the second person “you”): “After running away from the bear, you come across a big clearing in the woods. At the edge of the clearing is an old log cabin. You walk up to the cabin and reach for the door handle. Suddenly, you hear a loud whirring sound. The wind is blowing in all directions and suddenly everything is awash in a blue light. You look up and a large flying saucer is above you. What did you do?” And . . . you get the idea.
The story can go on as long as you like and it is quite fun. Problem stories engage kids in creative thinking, problem solving and public speaking. I use those very same problem solving skills to this very day (albeit with more down to earth problems and solutions, no flying saucers, yet). And your children get to spend time with their dad, which is what they want. So Happy Father’s day! No problem.