Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Parenting Tip - Rocks in a Jar

Have you heard the parable of the rocks in the jar?  It's a time management technique of prioritizing the things you need to get done, and doing the most important ones first.  If you put big rocks in a jar first, then you can still add in more pebbles, sand and even water.  But if you put pebbles, sand and water in a jar first, you'll never be able to make room for the big rocks.

I recently led a discussion with some women at Church regarding this parable and it was thought provoking what further ideas we came up with.

We discussed what the "rocks"were in our lives--the things we wanted to be sure and do each day. Each woman, of course, had different ideas according to her circumstances but  some of the big rocks most of us had were spending time with family, scripture reading, prayer, and exercising.  We talked how maybe some days we could fit in all the big rocks, but other days we may have to spend a shorter amount of time on some rocks, and that was okay.  If we acknowledge that some of the rocks are only going to be put in our jar 3 times a week instead of every day, then we don't set ourselves up for failure and guilt.  And ask yourself this question: do the big rocks necessarily have to all be put in the jar first thing in the morning?  I have a hard time getting all the important things done first, but when I realize I can do some things later in the day, and still get them done, it helps me not be so frustrated.

Our rocks change over the course of our lives and some seasons of our lives may have different sets of rocks.  This, too, is normal and okay.

One mother said that she only wanted the big rocks in her jar and didn't want any pebbles or sand cluttering up her life. Another mother of young children said she needed those pebbles to keep her sane enough to put in the big rocks.  What are the pebbles?  Perhaps things like reading a good book, scrapbooking, knitting, crafting, watching a movie, etc.

Before teaching my class, I was outside scouring my alley looking for rocks and pebbles to bring for the object lesson.  I picked up a nice pebble, only to find that it was really a dirt clod and it crumbled in my hand.  Do we have rocks and pebbles in our jar that are in reality dirt clods?  Do we spend our time on things that are of no worth, only to have them crumble to dust in our jar?

Some rocks are fragile.  My husband found a big rock that had large crystals inside it.  Unfortunately the weather has caused the crystals to disintegrate and they are much smaller than they use to be.  Do we have fragile rocks in our jar--children that are growing up too soon, testimonies that are tender, or family relationships that need attention?

Some rocks are in disguise.  I asked my mother to bring some of the animals she made out of rocks years ago for her grandchildren.  They're really cute, and look like animals, until you realize they are just rocks.  Do we have things in our lives in disguise, only to find out they are essential rocks that are shaping and changing our lives?  Think about family members who may have passed away and left you to manage life alone, or children with learning disabilities, or having less money than you wish you had.  All these "rocks in disguise" are in your jar and taking room each day.  Don't complain about them when they may, in fact, be helping you learn to have compassion, or force you to think differently or learn new skills.

Good luck with the rocks in your jar.  Put them in carefully each day.  Add some pebbles to spice up your life.  And think about the water.  What does it represent for you?

Thanks for reading,


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