My daughter cooked dinner tonight. Fried rice in celebration of the chinese New Year. She and I were both born in Monkey years. She tells me that means we are both "problem solvers" as in we know the answer to nine times one-hundred and five. She doesn't, though, and I really have to think about that one. The problems we are made to solve are not, perhaps mathmatical problemes. Tonight (as I do most nights) she solved the problem of dinner. She took the factors of left over rice, a bag of carrots, some purple cabbage and the chicken from two nights previous and she added them until they equaled dinner. It was good. What was better was watching her take charge of the big bowl of rice, seeing her happy smile as she dished out seconds (and thirds) to her brother. My husband (because he was born in the the steady year of the Ox) took this on as a teaching moment. He asked her to notice how happy she felt as the cook whose dinner was eaten with happiness and delight. He asked her to put herself in her mother's shoes (her mother who is often the cook). "Isn't it nice," he said, "to cook for happy eaters?"
"I know," she said. "I know what you are trying to do."
We monkeys are problem solvers, but we are also problem makers. We can't seem to help ourselves.