One of the most interesting things I have observed in the younger members of our workforce is their lack of ability to problem solve. When given a task or set of instructions they follow them with their "point and click diligence" but when confronted with circumstances that deviate from the projected result, they stall out. This is our own fault. As parents, mentors and teachers, we have failed to let them fail. We have given them step by step tasks and duties and rewarded them for following directions exactly. We have rewarded our children and students for obedience, we have structured their play time, their school time and all activities, including computer games and television are reinforcing the directive to "follow the direction of others".
There are the exceptions of course. Those who have been encouraged to create, explore and "get dirty" so to speak. Then there are the other exceptions. The ones that have trouble following all the rules, following all the directions, who don't learn by reading a book and don't fit the tick boxes we have created to describe the perfect student. We need these people. We need them to analyze what we have created, what we are doing and find different, better, cheaper, faster ways. We need them to see the world from a different angle and create new ideas and pathways.
We are given challenges in our life to stretch us. We are given problems in our life so that we search for solutions. We are given tough and arduous tasks so that we increase our endurance and analytical skills. Unless we begin allowing these challenges in our children lives, the first problem, the first challenge, the first arduous task will overwhelm them and they will quit.
I think sometimes parents and teachers fail to stretch kids. My mother had a very good sense of how to stretch me just slightly outside my comfort zone.
Temple Grandin (adult with autism, professor, speaker and inventor)
With all that said.....I had a challenge. I wanted to put stone border tiles around my ceiling to give a finishing touch to the venetian plaster and faux stone walls that I had created. Like most people, we are on a budget in this house. The cost to do a stone border would be over 1000.00. Now, being practical minded, that 1000.00 could also go toward my wood floors. I began to look for solutions. I went to my local habitat for humanities stores and could never find enough tile to do a one hundred foot project. I kept my eyes open on craigslist, checked stone shops and was about to use wood trim and faux paint the wood, when I stumbled on another solution. I found plaster and cement molds! Now I was familiar with the molds used for garden tiles, bird baths and little figurines. I was not familiar with suppliers that created molds for architectural design and decor. Walla! Not only did I find the molding I wanted for the living room/dining room but for the bathroom and decorative tiles just for fun! Out of a challenge came a new adventure! Now that is living!
Here are pics of the process to create the look of stone molding. First I brushed on a stone spray paint, before it was dry I brushed on the paint color. After these dried I dobbed gold metallic acrylic paint and then sealed the molding pieces with glaze. I am also showing pictures of hand painted decorative tiles that were sealed with glaze. Kinda fun and so much cheaper! I do not recommend plaster for anything that will be exposed to water unless you have added glue or some other bonding agent. Plaster will fall apart in the water. For projects that you will use outside I recommend quick set cement and tints.
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