When I was growing up, my father taught me to play Scrabble. Not by coaching me through a game, side-by-side as players on the same team, but by being a worthy counterpart in a back and forth exchange on the board. Through this methodology I too became a worthy opponent, a skill I am very proud to have today because it connects me to him, his strengths, his values and is a reminder of fond memories.
Throughout my life, some of the most meaningful and transformative moments I can recall were the conversations I had with my Dad. Some may call them “heart-to-hearts” but that would be underestimating the range and scope of what we would talk about. Similar to our Scrabble matches, he never “dumbed down” an intellectual conversation–not in his interpretations or his expectations of how I was to participate–which challenged me to meet him, or at least make a valiant effort to get there.