Why do we have a pumpkin carving contest?

                                                                    "Jane-O-Lantern"

                                                                    "Jane-O-Lantern"

As I sat at my dining room table carving pumpkins with my family, I realized that having a pumpkin carving contest is a great way to foster connections within our family and our community.

For so many of us, screens are a constant presence. We’re on them all day: the computer, the phones, the ipads. The kids watch TV or playing video games. We half listen to each other as our phones ping letting us know that a new email came in or someone commented on our photo on Facebook.

Sitting around the table together with knives and gourds might sound like a strange way to connect yet, it was a fabulous experience. We exchanged suggestions for how to best carve a little mustache or how to make my peace sign glow brighter. I was even happy when the kids fought over a carving instrument because it resulted in a negotiated agreement and two semi-satisfied kids.

As a team, it was so fun to watch the entries roll in from our clients, friends and family. Some were created with Aunts and Uncles, others with siblings, some from adults and others from little kids (you can see our entries here). One of our favorites is above: The “Jane” O’Lantern! We also had a great time judging them in the office.

In my family, we are very aware of our screen time and do a lot to limit it in our house (I’m sure many of you would still say we have way too much of it but we’re really trying!). I’ve read the research and talked to enough of the “experts” to know the issues that too much screen time can cause. But even with great awareness, I know we can do better. The pumpkins remind me that simple things are so important and our connections to the people we love are strengthened through attention. Real attention.

The irony of it all? Our pumpkin carving contest is held on Facebook!

- Wendy