Problems…Mountains or Molehills..It’s Up to Us

(Never Try to Solve All Your Problems at Once- Line Them Up One by One by Priority)

Dear Reader:

How many times have we looked back on certain problems that grew completely out of control when they could have been ‘nipped in the bud’when they were small and manageable?  That is one of those cases where we toss and turn all night playing the scene over and over in our minds with the “Should Have”Could Have” “Why Didn’t I” blues.

Nine times out of ten the problem was a communication, or more precisely, a lack of communication mistake… that helped a small, simple problem be misconstrued into a big, complicated mess.

When I was doing a lot of storytelling…one of my favorite stories was titled: “That’s Not My Problem”  It always opened up the best, liveliest discussions in the question/answer period at the end of the presentation. It was a great way to get students to write about a time when a problem they had got completely out of hand due to one bad call…dismissing it before solving it.

*I think it was the Christopher Robin movie Wednesday with Pooh eating his honey that reminded me of this old story.

“That’s Not My Problem”

 Once upon a time, there lived a king in a powerful castle that overlooked a beautiful village. Everyone was happy and satisfied.

One day the king and his adviser went to the top of the castle and looked down on the village. It was a beautiful, sunny day….everything appeared to be all right in the world.

The adviser handed the king some bread smothered in honey. The king began to eat it while leaning over the turrets. The  warming sun quickly began to make the honey run and a large drop of honey appeared “poised” to drop and fall down on the village street.

The adviser let the king know about the situation, but the king just laughed and said, “That’s not my problem.” Sure enough…the drop of honey fell and hit the cobblestone street. A fly zoomed right in on it…but was so busy eating it that the fly didn’t see a large lizard that lived under the castle until too late…quick as a flash, a long tongue came out and zapped the fly and the honey.

But as the lizard was enjoying his “two-for-one” meal, a cat appeared and grabbed the lizard. As the cat was playing with the trapped lizard, a dog appeared and grabbed half of the lizard from the cat’s mouth and began pulling. A real “cat and dog” fight commenced! People began to gather in the streets to watch.

The adviser woke up the king, who was taking a nap,and said, “Oh King…there appears to a “cat and dog” fight in the streets attracting many by-standers…don’t you think you should call some guards out?” The annoyed sleepy king yelled grumpily,” Are you kidding…a ” cat and dog” fight….NO…that’s not my problem.”

Soon the dog owner and the cat owner arrived on the scene, each accusing the other’s pet of starting all the ruckus…and immediately they were involved in a fist-fight…now attracting even more villagers.

“Oh King,” cried the adviser shaking the sleeping ruler, “Two men, the owners of the animals, are now in a street fight….shouldn’t we call out the castle guards to restore order?”…..The king, very irritated at being awakened a second time, yelled out “No…that’s not my problem!’ He promptly went back to sleep.

Soon friends of the dog owner and friends of the cat owner took sides and now two groups of villagers were involved in the brawl.

“Oh King, you MUST wake up and order the guards to bring some control to the situation, there is a huge brawl going on below in your streets!” The king yawned and glared at his adviser, “Don’t wake me again…the guards will handle it if they deem it necessary….and besides that’s not MY problem!”

The castle guards did arrive on the scene…but after listening to the two owners…some guards sided with one and some guards sided with the other. A full blown civil war exploded in the street…resulting in death, devastation, and destruction.

The adviser awakened the king trembling and said, “Oh King, we must leave at once…the castle is on fire.” The king’s eyes immediately opened, wide-eyed and panicked….they scurried down to safety.

The next morning…as the king and his adviser surveyed the burning ruins of his castle and village, he looked at the adviser and said, “That bit of honey ….WAS my problem.”


So until tomorrow….Tackle problems while they’re small; if left alone they will grow tall; and in the end be your own downfall.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

I played surprise “Boo” yesterday….I called Mollie to see if she was free for lunch to celebrate her promotion. I then took her and Eloise to lunch…then I rode with Mollie to pick up Rutledge from kindergarten and the expression on his face when he realized it was me looking out the window and not mom was priceless…He did a double-take.

Then I left and surprised Eva Cate and Jakie…we all went out to supper and had a great time just playing together last evening. I did pay attention to the message in Christopher Robin….Play more, worry less.

I am now official….We finally have had enough rain-less days for Luke to put my address numbers up on my steps for UPS, the mail truck, and Fed Ex all to see….100….no more excuses….

I got a picture of one of my day lilies before it was too late yesterday and the same thing happened with the third moon flower bloom last night…one only has a day to shine and the other only a night…both creatures of beauty and brevity.



About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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4 Responses to Problems…Mountains or Molehills..It’s Up to Us

  1. bcparkison says:

    Love the Not my Problem story. Aren’t we all guilty of putting things off that should be delt with.
    Don’t you just love the welcome smiles when your grands see you coming. It does wonders for my heart.


  2. Absolutely liked the story. It brought the point home greatly.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      So glad you liked it…the students used to yell out…”That’s not my problem” when we got to that part of the story that the king repeated over and over…a fun way to learn a lesson.


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