Was your first junior high dance as miserable as mine? My first one registered 9.6 on the Richter Scale of catastrophe to my tender adolescent soul. However, I finally got a girl to dance. I may or may not have traded her a candy bar.

Our old gymnasium had a balcony along one side for spectators. It hunger over the gym floor enough that you couldn’t make a jump shot from the baseline, but we weren’t very good at basketball so it didn’t matter.

The balcony was where our chaperones watched our adolescence get the best of us as shy boys asked giggling girls for a dance. The perspective of the chaperones was much different than ours as we were caught in the drama of the dance.

I often think of that old gym and the creaky wooden stairs to the balcony when I feel like I’m getting stuck in the drama of the dance. I mentally climb those wooden steps to look out over the dance floor of my current situation and ask myself a few questions:

      • What’s really going on here?
      • Why aren’t people enjoying the dance?
      • What is the fundamental principle at play?
      • What advice would I give myself as an outsider?
      • What matters most at the end of the day when the dance is over?
      • What can I trade a candy bar for?

When I feel like I’m getting caught up in the drama of the dance, I climb the creaky old wooden stairs to get on the balcony to get a different view.

The view is much different; the answers come more easily.

The dance is much more fun.