If we possess anything – substance, attention, promotion, increase, recognition, patronage, etc. – by receiving it through efforts or otherwise – we may describe all our possessions as gifts! And ought to now add to the list, solutions to any and every problem.
Every solution to an existing problem is a gift, regardless of the process, effort and resources that establish a link, some say, a kind of bridge between the undesirable condition and the preferred destination. Whereas the problem is the undesirable condition while the solution is the preferred destination. Gifts of solutions to problems come in various packages. Some are simple while others are complex. Yet there are other solutions that seem to defy the simple or complex categories. But there is no mistaking the fact that, when deeply considered, solutions are gifts indeed, which the handlers may not have earned by their efforts.
When solutions are explored as gifts, they throw a peculiar light on the hosts of those solutions or the human agents by which the solutions are manifest. Part of what the investigation throws up is whether the persons are deserving agents or whether they have earned the right to host and express the solutions for their benefit or the benefit of others.
It is interesting to note that sometimes the solutions are given to persons who had no hand in creating the problem. Other times, the solutions are shared between those who cause the problem and those most impacted by it. While in some cases, the solutions are given only to those who caused the problem in the first place. Surely it is an interesting investigation that seeks to determine what factors predispose certain persons to access uncommon solutions to riddles and puzzling situations, which cause nothing but fear, restlessness and disquiet in the home, office or land. Yet a more interesting investigation is the task of identifying individuals and groups that fit into these different categories.
How do we identify persons and groups who are exclusive carriers and custodians of solutions to problems they caused, and find an effective way to extract these solutions or encourage them to volunteer these solutions without any kind of friction?
How do we identify persons and groups who are joint carriers and custodians of solutions to problems they caused, and find an effective way to extract these solutions or encourage them to volunteer these solutions without any kind of friction? And lastly,
How do we identify persons who had nothing to do with a problem but who have been given exclusive solutions to problems caused by others?
Consider the following story: Recently, my neighbour reported that he and his family were woken up late one evening by disturbing sound of loud knocks from inside a neighbour’s apartment. The loud knocks, which lasted for more than forty minutes, were complemented by screams of a particular name. He debated within himself whether to go and check on his neighbour what the matter was but decided against it because of the time. It was almost 12 midnight. Eventually, the noise ceased and my neighbour and his family returned to bed their minds filled with questions.
The following morning, he approached his friend and asked what the commotion of the previous night was all about. Here is what he was told: The last child in the home had an argument with his older siblings and went angrily into the boy’s room and locked himself inside. All attempts to get him to open the door for his older brother were futile. Not knowing he had slept off, the older siblings started calling out him name but he did not respond. His worried parents soon joined the growing frenzy. They looked through the keyhole. There he was lying down on his bed unmoving. They began to knock heavily on the door. ‘Get me the hammer, he screamed to his son.’ With the hammer, he began to hit at the door knob and the area around it, while occasionally looking through the key hole to see if the boy had woken up. Nothing changed. Unfortunately, he hit the door knob so hard that when the boy who ordinarily does not sleep that deeply, woke up and walked up to the door, he could not open the door with the key!
“Remove the key and pass it under the door,” he called out to his son, who did as he was told. He passed the keys under the door but the keyhole had been blocked by the persistent hit from the hammer. More hammering on the door. Even some Kung-fu kicks were added but the door did not open. Then from inside the room, the little boy whispered, “Please give me the keys, let me try it from inside.” The keys were passed under the door back to him. Not more than two minutes later, he opened the door!
The relief that followed did not take away the biggest question on the boy’s father’s mind that night. Why did a boy who usually, was a light sleeper, sleep through such devastating noise and did not move a bit? How did he sleep so soundly after causing the rest of the family such restlessness and disquiet?
At first, he did not believe the answer when it came. He thought they were unrelated but the more he gave it thought, the more convinced he became that the incident happened to teach him an important lesson – Sometimes only those who cause a problem are given the solution, not those impacted by the problem!