My Problem Solver Toddler: Zeroing in on the Real Root Cause of the Problem

I have allergic rhinitis. So, sneezing in the early mornings is nothing new. It would be gone mid-morning so I do not really mind.

However the past three years have seen me sneezing almost everyday and every night! This was right after giving birth and moving in with my husband. I initially thought this was a natural consequence of giving birth and the sleepless nights soon after – compromised immunity. My other suspect was the A/C and fan. My body is cool temp avert. So, I would layer my clothes and sometimes even use my husband’s sweater, to no avail. Thus, I just let it be. Antihistamines still work, anyway.

A few days ago, though, in the middle of my sneezing, my 3-year-old daughter said, “mom, you achoo-ed because of that,” pointing to the dreamcatcher. It has been hanging there for quite a while now. It is one with the feathers. Because I value my daughter’s inputs and I thought it made sense, I kept the dreamcatcher in the drawer.

Alas! Like magic, the itchiness in my nose was right away alleviated. As the minutes passed, the more it cleared. Today is day 4 after I put the dreamcatcher away and no allergy attack since! It has been a very looooong time since my nostrils felt this wonderfully free!

Amazing how the actual root cause of the problem was easily left out, even if it was right there staring me in the eye, while I desperately attempted several band-aid solutions or worse, simply suffered the problem and for a time, accepted it as a fact of life.

If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions. – Albert Einstein

Quote gathered from Good Reads‘ collection of problem solving quotes.

Indeed, proper identification of the problem is key before moving on to the problem solving process. clearly outlines the Overview of the Problem-Solving Mental Process. Here’s just a condensed version.

  1. Identifying the Problem
  2. Defining the Problem
  3. Forming a Strategy
  4. Organizing Information
  5. Allocating Resources
  6. Monitoring Progress
  7. Evaluating Results

Looking back, it was steps 6 and 7 that I missed. If I did, I must have gone back to rethink the reasons and perhaps have zeroed in on the dreamcatcher sooner.

Anyhow, thanks to my father-in-law, who refused to reach for the dreamcatcher when she asked for it and explained that it might cause her to achoo, and praise God for my daughter’s ability to apply what she learned, early in life.

How about you? Are you suffering allergies or so, for quite some time now? Maybe the real cause of the problem is still in hiding. Go on, try the problem solving mental process. Who knows?!

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About Coach Emile Therese

Emile Therese is a Gallup Certified Strengths-Based Coach and Head of People&Culture. She is graduate of the University of Philippines in Diliman with a degree in Psychology, majoring in Developmental Psych. She is happily married and they are blessed with an amazing daughter. In her spare time, she loves engage in enlightening and heart-warming conversations and friends, read book (and people), write, crochet and travel (update: more of just a walk about these days) with her family. More about Emile.... She believes that values and character ought to be taught as early as possible and that these are key to community and nation building. This was also how she and her siblings were brought up by their two awesome parents! She is a Certified HR Professional who advocates employee engagement in its entirety. Emile believes that true employee engagement rests on the pillars of basic human needs and in ensuring that process and leadership basics are in place - the employee engagement imperatives. She hopes to contribute to making this world a better place for all of us now and the next generation. She loves sipping tea, conversations, reading and writing. The latter gave birth to two blogs - Purposeful Parenting Journey ( and Engagement Imperative (

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