Jewish Journal


December 21, 2000

A Gift That Keeps on Giving


Chatter Matters is the kind of present one person gets and the whole family benefits from. The board game is the brainchild of Kathryn Retsky, former director of the Stephen S. Wise Temple Parenting Center. Each player rolls the dice, moves along the board, and picks a card. The point is not winning or losing, but conversing. The cards pose questions such as, "A dream comes true. You are invisible for a day. What will you do?" The conversation that follows allows adults to hear their children's responses and vice versa.

Participants -- grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren -- open up to each other. Dilemmas, concerns, wishes and dreams get put out, quite literally, on the table. More topical game cards ask questions such as, "If someone in your family was running for political office, what winning campaign slogan would you suggest?" These connect the outside world to the inner world of the participants.

The game is set up so that every answer is right and each player feels successful. Conversation is stimulated a new ideas are shared. Retsky, who is now authoring educational CD-ROMs that promote understanding of children's health and development, hopes Chatter Matters will provide a thought-provoking vehicle to open up the hearts and minds of each player.

Her company, Parenting Solutions, has joined with Mattel to produce the game, which is available at Toys R Us and Target.

Finally, a gift that really does keep on giving.

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