With the increase in technology, our face to face communication has decreased over time. We are communicating more and more via text messages, email and through social media than we are with face to face communication. As a result, our ability to converse with others and stay attentive to specific topics is becoming more challenging. At times, certain types of technology can become a distraction that can make it difficult to have conversations. For example, being interrupted by text messages during dinner with a friend can affect a fulfilling conversation. This product called, Picture A Conversation can be an excellent tool to use when sitting down for a family meal together. With younger children, I would simplify some of the questions or just start your own conversation about the pictures on the cards. For example, the Monkey picture writes, “Oh, Come on, Lighten Up!” For an older child, discuss what “lightening up” means and in what situation you might say that to someone. The questions on the back of each card are used to guide the person in starting different types of conversations. I enjoyed this activity because it brought up conversations that I wouldn’t have had without the cards. I think this can also be an effective tool to be used with older generations such as visiting a grandparent or a small group activity. The cards aren’t just effective for conversation, it can an excellent exercise with building language such as expanding vocabulary, answering questions, multi meaning words and improving problem solving. It also forces you to open up your emotional status with others and share your experiences and perspective.
1. What inspired you to create Picture A Conversation™?
I’m a people person. Relationships are vital to me and so is the sharing that comes about from having really great conversations.
Picture a Conversation™ is a creative collaboration, (yes, you can even say creative conversation!) between my husband and me. He’s the photographer; I’m the wordsmith. I look at his photos and draw from them something they say to me about life, our triumphs, relationships, struggles. Our greeting card imprint — His Lens/My Pen — features his images and quotes that I have written inspired by the images.
After seeing so many families, friends and couples at restaurants interacting with their cell phones instead of one another, I felt I had to so something. People need to re-engage with one another! They need to have conversations. Real ones, face to face in real time. Then the idea came to me — take the images and quotes from His Lens/My Pen and pair them with really good, really provocative questions that would lead to some really great and meaningful conversations. That was how Picture a Conversation™ was born.
For instance “The Sky’s the Limit” inspired these questions: What dream do you still want to achieve? Do dreams have limits? What joys and challenges arise when you pursue a dream? Share a dream you went after.
Martin’s smile-making shot of this grumpy monkey inspired the questions: What puts you in a cranky state of mind? How do you snap out of it? What situations lead you to take yourself too seriously? How do you handle cranky people when they cross your path?
2. How did your background influence the creation of this product?
I’ve been a journalist for 30+ years, having written for a number of national Jewish presses, Good Housekeeping and even an essay in Newsweek. I’m the advice columnist for a local paper. I’ve also published two books, one of which is coming out again in a second edition next spring. Words are my universe.
I also adore my husband’s photography. He has this extraordinary gift of composing images that take your breath away. We’ve been blessed to travel much of this beautiful country of ours. Oftentimes he’d be off photographing in a park or hiking trail and I’d be hunkered down on a rock or beside a river writing. It was always a “one day” thought of ours to team up creatively. Picture a Conversation is the reality of that one day thought.
3. What is your goal for your customers with Picture A Conversation?
The goal is to enrich relationships. To provide a a fun, meaningful and engaging way for friends, families, couples, and even co-workers to learn about one another and themselves. As we increasingly depend on our devices to communicate we are losing a vital part of our humanity. Social scientists, teachers and parents are all realizing the deficits that this lack of interaction is causing to us all.
Picture a Conversation cards are also a wonderful tool for self-discovery whether used as journaling prompts or even by therapists and spiritual healers. A therapist shared with me that she has a particularly resistant client. She used the set with this client who finally had a breakthrough. The client called her a day or so after their session to say she hadn’t realized her own wisdom until she had the opportunity to reflect on her own experiences that were prompted by some of the questions.
Back in our testing phase a mom, who used the cards with her kids — two sons and a daughter — said that the photos drew her boys in and then they were able to consider the questions. He daughter did something I’d never dreamed of. She took two cards and said, “Mommy, I’ll answer this card and I want you to answer this one.” This daughter had experiences she wanted to share with her mom. And there was also something specific she wanted to know from her mother’s life. The opportunity might not have come about had she not had this card not inspired her to ask. It was very cool to hear this. I was thrilled.
Product specs: Each boxed set contains 25 cards, 75+ questions and instructions. For ages 9 – 109. Learn more and order at pictureaconversation.com