I started thinking about rocks the other day. My daughter was obsessed with collecting every type of rock and stone for a couple years when she was tinier – didn’t matter if it was on the side of the road, in a park, or at any zoo or museum that carried them.
She loved her rocks.
When I was in elementary school, my besties and I painted “Prayer Rocks” with one of my friend’s moms where we wrote down what we prayed for in our lives at that preteen time. It felt really good for some reason to put down a hope on something so solid that I had helped look even more beautiful.
Now, I’ve been seeing the past couple years that painted rocks left around with messages or pictures to brighten a stranger’s day has become a growing trend. And, I love every bit of it.
I think part of it is the creative side of me, and the other is using human interaction with a piece of nature to bring some lasting joy to someone we don’t know and may never know who we are.
It’s a beautiful concept.
Then, I thought more about stones in general and wondered:
“Are people like rocks?”
We can be. Rocks and stones have been used for as long as time to build foundations and all other types of lasting structures. Rocks can bring light to someone, like with the painted rocks left for strangers. Rocks can build monuments and places of religious offerings.
But, they can also break windows and bones. In some civilizations, cultures, and times, rocks and stones were used as punishment until death. Rocks can be used to shatter beauty and security, just as they can be used to provide a stable foundation.
The old childhood saying of “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me” is a lie. We all know it, even though we were probably one of the kids being bullied once upon a time and trying to feel strength by repeating that mantra.
People – and the words that come from those people – are like rocks. They can be used to either tear down or build up others. Our words matter. Our words have context and meaning.
Use your words for good.
Teach your children to use their words for good. Be mindful of the subtle things you say and the ways you talk about others. Our kids pick up on all of this and they are impressionable. Your words are stepping stones to how they look at the world and how they treat others in society.
We all have a responsibility as parents. It is NEVER easy, but it is worth it. We are building into future generations, and we CAN build a better future with our word rocks.