This past week, we had both family members and friends stay overnight. We happened to have a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle laid out on a table. It was a wonderful place for people to drop in, find a few pieces, and then be replaced by someone else. It was also a great place to hang out and just be with each other. Sports are often good for hanging out together, but not every one plays golf or likes the same games. Everyone can do puzzles.

Lots of wonderful things can happen around the puzzle:

  • Young children can learn about completing difficult things—things that take time, persistence, and patience.
  • People can contribute to you by helping you find a piece.
  • Spending time together creates room for conversation.
  • People can ask for help.
  • Being focused on the puzzle can make difficult conversations less threatening.
  • Everyone can be reminded that technology isn’t needed to enjoy being together

It takes a bit of determination to replace the compelling pull of technology and its novelty. Puzzles are not the right thing to do—just an example of one way to find a time and place where conversation might happen. Where might that be for your family? And perhaps it’s a different time and place for each child.

There is an answer, though, and with that answer might come some magical conversations.


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