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Perspective: A deep dive into hot lava


Monday morning, I pulled into my parking lot aware there would likely be a few patches of ice where the salt or plows didn’t reach. While it’s a normal expectation after almost ten winters here, it’s always a pain to worry about ice. This Monday, though, my mind was still in weekend mode and I decided to play a solo game of “Hot Lava” as I made my way across the lot.

I remember the first time I caught my kids jumping from sofa to chair, onto cushions on the floor, and back through the circuit again. They were laughing and warning each other, “Don’t fall into the lava!” I relaxed my “No Feet on the Furniture” rule as I stood back and admired their teamwork and fun.

I’ve read that the Hot Lava game could have been a training activity for young hunter-gatherers back in ancient days. Looking for and avoiding both potential pitfalls and natural hazards are still important skills for survival

In fact, those are the same skills adults use to keep from “stepping into the fire” today. It’s good to know how to move from point A to point B without falling into the figurative lava or getting burned by our own carelessness and avoidable missteps.

While life isn’t all fun and games, when you’re struggling with a situation that presents some risks on the way to a reward, adding in the adventure of a “Don’t fall into the Lava!” mindset might spark new ideas and new solutions. If the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results, changing up the way you work through problems wouldn’t be crazy at all.

I’m Suzanne Degges-White and that’s my perspective.

Chair and Professor - NIU counseling and higher education