Friday, June 13, 2008

Good-Bye, Tim Russert

I'm so very sad today about the passing of Tim Russert; I am a big fan of his. I remember so well sitting and watching him write on that dry-erase board the night of the 2000 election ...staying up until the wee hours of the morning just watching the drama unfold. My husband and I like to record Meet the Press and watch it together on Sunday night. Tonight, as we watched the tributes on NBC, we talked about how much we respected and just flat liked the guy. He asked the toughest of questions to the most important of people, but somehow they never seemed mean-spirited. He made politics a sport, and he clearly enjoyed it more than anyone. Later, I thought of his happy, bright eyes and how the look in them always conveyed a true passion for what he was discussing. How wonderful it is to see someone spending their life using the gifts the good Lord gave them and thus, loving what they do! Sunday nights will not be the same around our house without this class-act American. I will miss him.


I love to do puzzles. All kinds of puzzles! I even buy those puzzle books you see in the grocery store just for special occasions. As I was growing up, on vacation there was always a giant jigsaw puzzle spread out on a game table. Everyone would stop by it, work on it a minute or twenty, and move that is fun! My husband thinks it's weird...he's not a fan of the puzzle. So, as you can see, I must train my children to love them so that I will have someone to share this with me!

Tuesday Morning is the best place I have found to buy children's jigsaw puzzles for a reasonable price, and I stock up! We are working our way up on number of pieces. Anywhere from forty to seventy pieces is a good number for my five year old. If I do put together the border, he can complete a 100 piecer. If he starts to doubt himself, I might step in and offer a little encouragement or put together several pieces for him. Sometimes, I'll suggest that he look for all of the pieces of one particular focal point of the puzzle. Once he gets going, he develops confidence, and gains momentum.

One day, I did an internet search to pinpoint the educational benefits of jigsaw puzzles. There are actually quite a few. The development of eye hand coordination, problem solving skills, spatial awareness, and logical reasoning are just a few ways they can help a child. Puzzles also help develop an attitude of perseverance. I know that I've heard my son tell me that a puzzle is too hard for him, but, with a little encouragement, he continues on to complete the whole thing. He feels such a sense of accomplishment after finishing what he thought to be an insurmountable task.

At night before I go to bed, I sometimes set out all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle on the table in the kitchen. I turn them all right side up so that it's an inviting activity. If not first thing, at some point during the day I'll find my son working on it, and I feel good knowing that he's not only having fun, but gaining a lot as well.