by Jone Bosworth, JD
Founder, InCourage Leading, LLC
Look up “doting” in the dictionary and you’ll find my picture. The label reads “Doting Aunt.”
Remember prehistory, back before Skype? In that bygone era, I spent hundreds of dollars–thousands, really–talking with my nephews and nieces on the telephone. (You remember: Two pieces, attached to the wall by a cord, a rotary dial that evolved into push buttons.) Especially while I was living abroad, the phone charges added up quickly.
Inexplicably, when I’d ring from Tokyo, my sister thought it wise to put her 3-year old on speaker-phone. He’d describe every single thing in the house to me. The conversations went like this: “I’m in the living room Aunt Jone. Here’s the t.v., here are my books, there’s my dump truck, here’s Anarchy (the dog), there’s Mommy’s shoes. I have a red block, Aunt Jone…”
I’m not exaggerating. And I’m not complaining. The world can be a tough ol’ place, growing up can be bumpy, and doting is one little antidote I can offer. Now that I live closer to family, much more of my doting gets done in-person.
Problem is–at the risk of exposing what an old fogey I’ve become–my 4-year old nephew loves having me sit at the computer beside him and watch him play games. I find this not only super boring, but a resounding defeat of my doting-time-together goals. I decided we should try our hands at jigsaw puzzles. We’d be doing something together, playing in a much more social way. I dug out a puzzle from my mother’s closet and we set about putting it together.
Potential alert to pre-dementia: I’m not smarter than a 4-year old. At least not when it comes to assembling jigsaw puzzles. Wow! I remember this task being so much easier!
Jigsaw puzzles are apparently good for the brain. Several studies revealed that solving puzzles increases our concentration, sharpens our memories, and perhaps even improves our brain function. According to an article on Social Psychiatry.com, “Working on jigsaw puzzles and focusing on the same image for longer periods can actually turn out more like meditations and induce a calmness and peace in the mind.”
There may be other physical benefits too—lowered breathing, heart and blood pressure rates. And of course, there’s a huge sense of accomplishment, of success, when you place that last piece.
Susan (The Resale Evangelista) frequently reminds me that I could be consuming less, living a simpler life. When it comes to puzzles, I’m listening. So, anticipating my next visit to my nephew in Nebraska, I picked up a brand new puzzle for $2.15 at my neighborhood Goodwill. The box hadn’t been opened, the puzzle pieces were still sealed in a bag.
Just for fun, I decided to try my hand at putting it together at my house. You know, making sure it isn’t too hard for my nephew. Sure, it says on the box that this puzzle is for ages 8+. But hey, it gives me a chance to get (okay, appear) smarter than a 4-year-old. I can’t remember–is that cheating?
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