Who doesn't love the sight of an almost 4-year-old and his Popaw (great-grandfather) sitting at the table working a puzzle together? Classic Timeless. A bridge between generations.
When Ryan was about a year old, he was completely mesmerized by puzzles. The wooden puzzles with frames and giant size pieces. You know the ones, 4-8 pieces, pegs at the top It was easy to teach him how to manipulate the pieces to fit in their appropriate shape. Before long he graduated to the more advanced puzzles. The ones with 10-15 pieces that you actually had to figure out by color and fit together inside the frame. Ryan got bored with those rather quickly. So, he graduated to the 25 piece puzzles with no frame. We taught him the easiest way to do the puzzle without a frame was to find the end pieces and work them first and then put tighter the inside. It worked. He could put those puzzles together in a jiffy. Again, he got bored quickly and he graduated up to the 100 piece puzzles, when he was about 3 1/2. By the time he was four, putting together 200 piece puzzles became his challenge. He was diligent about picking out the end pieces and working the outside until he discovered the picture on the box. The picture on the box opened a whole new world for him see colors and patterns and how they would fit together. While he would still separate out the end pieces, he could work both inside and outside at the same time.
More than the fact that Ryan was a puzzle whiz, is the time that others, especially Popaw would take to sit with him and work puzzles.
Popaw always understood that his time would make a difference. He never got too busy to spend time with those he loved. Ask anyone of my children, my sister, my brother, or their children. He's always placed far more value in people than things.
Time is the most valuable gift we can give others and it's often the thing we fail to give. We find distractions or busyness to consume our time. We're always moving to the next item on our agenda. These are the things that often rob us of time we need to be investing in others.
Jesus was always investing his time with people too. There are countless stories in the Bible where we are told that Jesus lingered. He stayed longer than planned. Why? He knew that by investing his time in people, He could win them over. He could gain their trust. He also knew at the core root of people is an insatiable need to be loved and made to feel important. Do you realize when you give up your agenda and just spend time with someone, you're saying, "You're more important. The agenda can wait."? People can't.
So often when my children were young, I was eager to move onto the next thing on my agenda. Most things were "good things" but those things took time away from them. Time I could've invested in reading a book, playing a game, working a puzzle, etc. My children, without a doubt, know they are loved and adored; but I could've made them feel so much more important if I had been willing to, like Popaw, set aside my agenda and give them my full attention. I went to sleep and now they're 27, 25, 21, and 19. Don't blink.