Everyone needs a rock
I always pick up rocks. A pebble here and there. I’ve been drawn to stones for as long as I can remember. I hold them in my hand; turn them over and over. I feel their smooth surface, trace the shape, consider the weight. I look at the colour and ribbons of history running through. Rocks speak to me; I am pulled towards the one I’m supposed to choose.
When my daughters were younger, and I could still influence their choices and adventures, I encouraged them to become rock collectors, too. When they were little, we had a ‘Story Stone’ at home. We found it in the alley behind our house. It was a beauty with a wonderful shape. The girls decorated it and we kept it on the kitchen table. Over dinner, whoever held the rock would share the story of their day. Or, we would go around the table and each add one sentence to collectively make-up a silly story to make us laugh. When they held the stone, they had the floor. It helped teach us to take turns, listen, and the magic of story-telling.
There’s a lovely book called Everybody Needs A Rock by Byrd Baylor with pictures by Peter Parnall. I used it a lot when I was a teacher. It shares the magic of finding a special rock of your own. It has ‘rules’ for picking your ideal stone . . . yes, it’s really good to sniff them, too!
There’s another wonderful book called A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles by Zen Master and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Thich Nhat Hanh.
It shares an innovative way to introduce children to the practice of meditation. Through hands-on experiences it helps children to experience our interconnection with nature and can calm busy bodies and minds.
During this pandemic, I’ve been handling many of my favourite rocks (and juggling life’s big rocks, too). I’m appreciating the comfort of a smooth and weighty stone in my palm. Recalling memories of special places and times is familiar and reassuring in all the unknown. Somedays I find myself wishing that my girls were still small and I could be their teacher again. Rocks could be our curriculum, and I could read aloud to them some of these amazing other rock books:
Stone Soup by Jon J. Muth is a favorite old trickster tale that inspires people to work together and celebrates the power of community generosity.
Ishi by Akiko Yabuki is called “a cozy hug of a book” and has delightful, simple photography that encourages the reader to choose and enjoy happiness.
Pebble by Susan Milford is a story of belonging and finding one’s place in the world.
Lubna and Pebbleby Wendy Meddour and Daniel Egneus is an unforgettable story about the wrenching dislocation of refugees and one girl’s powerful act of friendship in the midst of uncertainty.
Old Rock (Is Not Boring) by Deb Pilutti is full of quirky charm and shows that great storytellers come in all shapes, sizes and ages. Old Rock’s stories are sure to inspire questions that lead to wonderful conversations.
I hope you have a special rock, or three, as well. Perhaps the children in your life are ready to find their perfect ‘Story Stone’. A time for you to explore with them as they uncover a special treasure and I hope you find the joy of story-telling together.
Steacy Pinney (Collyer), CEO, Calgary Reads