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Victor Frankl: In Our Response Lies Our Growth and Our Freedom

September 25, 2019

 

In these troubling times, we are invited to take action:

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom,” argues Victor Frankl.

“You could say that river cleanup was child’s play compared with the melting of the ice caps—and I would thank you for sharing and get back to doing what is possible. Those who say it can’t be done should get out of the way of those who are doing it,” writes Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird, in an essay published this month in National Geographic.

Or,  as Abe Lincoln says, “I’d rather be playing video games.”

Or not.

Here’s a link to a post from last year that might be a bit too political for some people. It also quotes extensively from the article by Anne Lamott quoted from and linked to above.

How do we know what action to take?

A place to start is by doing research. While there is lots of information online, some of it may be of the same sort as the quote about Abe Lincoln playing video games…

Fortunately, as a society, in the US we have invested in libraries — and librarians to help us find the solutions to the problems we are trying to solve:

As a writer and teacher, I follow Paulo Freire’s advice from chapter two of Pedagogy of the Oppressed that teachers bring “problem posing” into the classroom. Freire argues that students have real questions for which they want answers, real problems they want to solve, real ideas they want to explore about their world. He encourages teachers to move from a transmission style of teaching to a transformative one, one that provides students with opportunities to transform their world. To do so, he suggests a process of naming, reflecting, and acting on the real world problems we face today.

In Stop Stealing Dreams, Seth Godin also encourages students to get out and work on real world problems.

For their research paper, I tell students there are three steps in solving a problem–and they all require research and evaluation. Use this question to guide you: What action can I take to solve this problem?

  1. Name the problem. Conduct primary and secondary research to learn more about the problem; evaluate the information so that you can name the problem and describe it in detail.
  2. Reflect on possible solutions. Now that you understand the nature of the problem, conduct primary and secondary research into possible solutions, and then evaluate the solutions for which one/s you want to try for your action.
  3. Act. Use the primary and secondary research you’ve found about the problem and the solution to determine your course of action. What action will you take to solve the problem? Once you do take action, evaluate how the process and what you should do differently next time

Here’s another piece of advice from Anne Lamott that applies equally to problem solving as it is to writing:

Let’s find the courage to try.

 

 

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