“And then he got stuck,” said my three-year-old son Jack. He was telling me a story about parachute man, a small plastic toy he received in a birthday party goody bag.
“What did he do then?” I asked.
“He tried to pull his arms out but the putty was too strong.”
“Then what did he do?” I asked.
“Well, he called Curious George. And Curious George made a fishing pole and tried to pull him out. But that didn’t work.” said Jack.
“Oh, he was really stuck.” I said.
“Yeah, but he’s going to get out.” said Jack. ” Then he called Bob the Builder. Bob brought Lofty and Lofty put his hook on parachute man’s pants and pulled him out a little bit but not all the way.”
“What happened then?” I asked.
“They called Spider Man. And Spider Man sprayed a web around the putty. It was like a rope and then parachute man could grab it and climb out on top of the putty.”
“So they all helped him.” I said.
“Yeah, ” said Jack. “They all did different things to help.”
It always amazes me how creative and resourceful kids are. There are lessons for us in their basic sense of play and adventure. When we’re feeling stuck with a challenge and trying to figure out some possible solutions, remember the lessons of parachute man:
- Don’t go it alone, ask for some support and ideas from those you trust.
- Don’t give up, keep generating ideas.
- Keep the idea generation to a small group: large groups are brain mush not brainstorms.
- Take on the persona of a super hero, rock star, or other bigger than life personality and imagine how that person would approach the problem.