630-484-2336 ben@bedo.org

As coaches we know there are good times and there are bad times.  As we get older and our challenges get harder and complex, this can be one of the most powerful things to remember, and yet, when we’re stuck in those crisis moments, it can be hard to remember.  We feel like we’re not moving, nor will we ever move.  Things will never change, and we’ll always see things the same way.

And when you’re stuck on the bottom, you can’t really get yourself out.  You need help–someone to balance you out and lift you up.  And no matter how bad it gets, we must always keep in mind the old adage, “What goes up, must come down.”  but that also works the other direction, “What goes down, must come back up.”  That alone has been a source of hope and inspiration for many.

It’s a wonderful phrase and lesson to learn, and yet, typically when we’re in the middle of our crisis or stuckness, it can be hard to remember.  from where we’re sitting, we’re down and we’ll always stay down.

It’s amazing that we forget so easily the lessons that we learned from the playground while playing on one of life’s greatest teachers–the see-saw.

Yes, you heard me right.  Think about it.   The See-Saw

First off, don’t get me started on the name.  I don’t know where it really came from.  Some think that it’s a derivation of the up and down motion resembling the back and forth of a saw (and there’s this whole french pronunciation thing and I don’t know.)  Suffice to see, however it originated, the name is sooooooooooooo coaching, considering we’re all about what you see (literally as well as metaphorically), what you will see, and what you saw.

But aside from that, let’s look at how this works.

First off, have you ever tried to see-saw alone?  Doesn’t work.  You just sit there.  Stuck on the ground.  Sure, you can lift yourself up, but as soon as you lift your legs that are supporting you, you’ll come crashing down on your keister.

Someone needs to help you, to partner with you, to serve as your balance.  Now it can’t be someone much larger or too small, they have to be about the same size, and more importantly, weight.  If you have a similar weight then when they get on, you’ll rise up nice and steady and you’ll balance each other out… legs dangling as though you are floating on air.  If you’ve ever had someone larger jump on, you’ll know the experience.  It can be quite exciting to suddenly be catapulted upwards, but a little scary as you leave the seat and continue flying out of control.  And when you come down, it’s not a pleasant feeling.

Nor is when that other person suddenly gets off and they no longer balance you out and your own weight brings you crashing down to bruised tailbones.

Now one game we used to play was when two people would balance off on the see-saw and then another would jump on the middle.  If they stood right in the center (the fulcrum) they would be able to add to the balance.  Then another kid would climb on and the one in the center would adjust his weight a bit to accomodate, and then another would perch upon and another.  It was a fun game to see how many kids we could pile on this one ride, all balanced out and even.  And then slowly start moving up and down, up and down.  With all that extra weight it would be harder to move quickly, and things could get out of hand easily.  There was quite a degree of trust as we would all rely on each other.  If one kid jumped off the right side, the left side would jolt downward, thus usually losing a kid on the back end.  This in turn would shift the weight back over to the right side and some would tumble there, and before you knew it, everyone had fallen off (and hopefully not gotten hurt in the process–which explains why the adults wouldn’t let us do it).

I’m sure there’s more metaphors and lessons learned from this and I’d love to hear what you come up with.

So please share your thoughts and ideas.