The SEESAW: The One Life Skill That Takes You to Multiple Finish Lines


Let it flow

When we are working with students of any age, and really any age learner in any setting, we want to empower them to be creative. As adults who often times can get bogged down in details, we need to remind ourselves that creativity can be:

  • Messy

  • Unstructured

  • Unpredictable

  • Surprising

We should also remind ourselves that creativity can be:

  • Brilliant

  • Life Changing

  • Refreshing

  • Astounding

When I say “Let it Flow” I am referencing a specific moment. The moment when the learner takes a tangent by either saying or doing something either somewhat related, distantly related and/or unrelated to the topic at hand. In this moment, the best we can do is ask questions which…

Simultaneously honor the learners curiosity and helps them think critically in that ultra creative moment.

This is not a moment of helter skelter, even though it may appear to be. This is a learning moment where we can help someone else understand the ying and yang of how to have a creative idea AND follow through in a concrete way.

It’s all about teaching children of all ages how to redirect energy from the creative to the critical and vice versa


Diving into the Impossible Moments

I was having a conversation with my 20 yr old son recently about his catering company, www.CubanTwist.Cafe We were talking about which of the products he makes possibly being a good match for packaging and placing in grocery stores. We discussed his non-GMO, hormone free pulled pork and his organic roasted and pulled chicken with a roasted tomatillo salsa verde (I know, yummmm, right?). As we chatted, we discovered that the profit margin didn’t exist to get these to market.  

It is in these kinds of moments than many learners, of all ages, see the barrier, stop and drop that line of thought. The creativity took them there, but without critical thinking, the perceived barrier appears to be one that stops the idea from manifesting.

I said to my son, “What about that sauce we saw in Whole Foods?” We had met the maker of this sauce last year. My son said, “What about placing just our roasted tomatillo salsa verde?” I said, “What about the pulled pork roasted chili BBQ sauce?” We kept thinking through possibilities and we then realized the simplest product, the Cuban Black Beans, were the answer for many reasons.

This train of thought and discussion took a focused and critical kind of thinking. Combined with our creativity, we found an answer which was authentic, exciting, and healthy!

Learning to Navigate the roadless roads

When our creativity hits a bump in the road, it takes critical thinking to navigate to either:

  • Find a solution

  • Find a different approach

  • Ask a different/better question

Of course, without creativity, you won’t find too many bumps in the road. That road may be easier to navigate and rarely leads to great finds.

This kind of learning can take place anywhere, where the guide and the learner are co-creating. In an educational setting, a great example would be the use of a socratic seminar. When we empower our learners to truly share their thoughts and seek multiple solutions with others who may be above their level of thought, this creates authentic mentorship. This kind of learning can often lead to engaged thinkers who end up falling in love with the act of creating.

So what is this one life skill?

Learning that creative and critical thinking are equally important and using both simultaneously is a key to success.