I grew up in an era without video games or computers to stifle my imagination. Instead, we were content with a coloring book and crayons (the box of 64, if you were lucky!) or a puzzle book. I was especially intrigued by the dot to dot puzzles and methodically followed the numerical or alphabetical pathway to unveil the “secret” pictures. Even though the picture was fairly obvious before you completed the path, it still was quite satisfying to watch it unfold as you connected the dots. Once the picture was revealed, you could stop awhile to admire your accomplishment and then move on to another challenge. So simple and pure and so fun!
Another game, that was usually reserved for pre-meal restaurant lag-time or waiting room distraction, used only a blank sheet of paper (the back of a placemat worked very well) and a pencil. First, the setup – dots had to be placed in an equidistant grid-like formation on the page (the more the better). Each person would take a turn to draw one line, anywhere on the grid, connecting only two dots. The object of the game was to prevent the other player from completing a full square and for you to complete as many squares as possible, in return. When you found a box with three completed sides, you gleefully completed a square and proudly placed your initial in the middle to “claim” that territory as your own. The person with the most completed squares won the game (and, most importantly, bragging rights). You had to learn to pay attention and to form a strategy to succeed. A life lesson on a placemat!
Now, I am older and still connecting dots of another kind with the same enthusiasm, strategy and sense of accomplishment. These dots are not on a page, but rather, they are the dots of our family tree. This is a more challenging exercise, as the dots are always in motion and sometimes they don’t want to cooperate. But, I keep plugging away at it because I believe that fostering healthy relationships within a family unit is an essential exercise that is often overlooked in our rat-race society. It really is our responsibility to seek out and facilitate connections between us. I prefer to think of it as an advanced version of my beloved dot-to-dot games. Hence the evolution of this new blog: Dot-Two-Dot Family Connections.
As we interact and share experiences (both good and bad) the lines between two individuals will take off in many directions and enrich and strengthen our relationships. This blog will share some of those experiences and, hopefully, inspire others to begin connecting the dots in their own relationships. Let’s reveal the secret pictures that make us special and work together to use the squares we claim to build a stronger family foundation…