Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: MAP (01/31/19)
- TITLE: Puzzled
By Stephen Kimball
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The age-old conversation between parent and child… “I’m bored…There’s nothing to do.”
“I’ll give you something to do, if you complain anymore.” …would never occur in my house as long as Vidya is in control.
Problem is, my wife and I think Vidya is overworked.
So, on the precipice of Christmas break, in a rare quiet moment (at the dinner table), my wife and I ask the kids, “Who’s up for a challenge?”
“That depends on what it is.”
I reach into my wallet, remove its contents and hold it up in front of me.
My 15-year old’s jaw drops as his eyes open wide – speechless.
“We’ll do the challenge!” answers my 12-year old, with a ”hundred-dollar” smile on his face.
“On the line is this fresh, crisp one-hundred-dollar bill. All you have to do is, over the next seven days, put this puzzle together.”
I reached under the table and presented a clear plastic bag filled with a 1000-piece puzzle that we had previously purchased with this challenge in mind. I placed the $100.00 bill behind the red bow that decorated the bag and set it in the middle of the table, and again asked, “Are you up for the challenge?”
“YES!” they answer, almost in unison.
“Wait…all we have to do is put this puzzle together and we get that?”
“Yep - no joke, no strings attached. You can work on the table in the basement. Two rules: First, we don’t want you to discuss it with us until you are completely done. Second, you have to be finished by bedtime next Sunday. Deal?”
“Done,” my older one says with confidence. They were already planning what games they were going to purchase with the dough.
The next morning, they were up and raring to go. Before heading to the basement, they asked, “What is it a picture of? “
“It’s a nature scene, but that’s all the information you get. You better get started, you have a lot of work to do.”
The kids do have some experience with puzzles, so by the end of that day they had finished the border and considered that a major victory.
The next day they were less enthusiastic. It might as well have been a 10,000-piece puzzle of a white cow in a snow-covered field, during a blizzard. Progress slowed. They had put together a few small clusters of pieces off to the side but clearly had no clue where to go next. They were getting discouraged.
Over the next several days, less and less effort was being put into the project. Hope was dwindling.
Five days passed before we gave them an opportunity to tell us how it was going.
“We give up. We still don’t even know what we’re putting together - it’s an impossible assignment.”
“Let’s make a deal,” I offered. “We’ll give you the box top, with the picture of the puzzle on it, but the payoff goes down to twenty bucks each. Okay?”
Turning to his brother, the older one reasons, “Yes! We already have so much time invested in this, we might as well take it…it’s better than nothing.” They both nodded in agreement, with a spark in their eyes that we hadn’t seen since that first day.
After handing over the box top, we didn’t see the kids, except for meals, for the rest of the day.
Later, just as we were about ready to tell them to wrap it up, we heard the pounding of footsteps racing up the stairs. “Mom, Dad…we’re done, come see!”
“Wow…Great work guys! Putting that together was a whole lot easier once you had the box top, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, we wouldn’t have been able to do it without it. Or, at least it would have taken a whole lot longer.”
“Here’s what we want you to learn boys: Life is much like a puzzle. There are lots of pieces to put together and without direction, it’s really hard to figure out. The Bible is like the box top, it gives us a map to live by. There will still be challenges, for sure, but you won’t be flying blind. Now answer me - how vital is the box top?
“Vital…Now, can we play the x-box tomorrow?”
“Of course, you can.”
*Psalm 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.“
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