The Rock



When my oldest daughter was in preschool, she brought me home a rock as a father’s day present. She described in great lengths how she had spent all day painting it and she beamed as she handed it to me. A picture of it is at the right.

That was almost 8 years ago and the rock has sat above my computer monitor ever since.

The reason the rock sits above my computer monitor is because it reminds me of the story below. When faced with an option, if I’m sitting at my computer, as I often am, my daughter’s gift reminds me to always choose my rocks.

Unfortunately, I just discovered that one of my rocks requires my full attention.

Hopefully it will only be a short-term issue, but I have no way of knowing at this point.

I’ll be back as soon as I can.

By the way, you may get the honor of a special guest blogger in my absence.

UPDATE JUNE 22, 2009
The rock is better for now – thanks for all the good wishes.
Will have to take a planned leave of absence next month to deal with it further.


A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks about 2″ in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous — yes.

The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and proceeded to pour their entire contents into the jar — effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your spouse, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else. The small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your husband or wife out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.”

“Take care of the rocks first — the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.

The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers.”


  1. Just wanted to say that I hope everything is OK with all your rocks. (I’ve heard that story before, but love that you have a very special rock of your own to remind you of it!)

    Hope everything works itself out soon and you’re able to come back without too long a delay. I love your blog and have especially been fascinated by your tales of your court case. Can’t wait to see how that ends. 🙂

  2. Pingback: rocks. « Boo.

  3. Happy Father’s Day!!

    Did you change that last word from “coffee” to “beer?” Because I actually read this piece before and it stated “…a cup of coffee.”

  4. Pingback: | Chose the rocks in your life…

  5. I am surprised that Matt has nothing to say for once, he is usually picking apart everything you say.

    On another note, happy fathers day.

  6. Pingback: The Rock « WhiteCoat’s Call Room « Thoughts and Thoughts

  7. I hope the fact that you’re posting again means your rock situation has been resolved in a satisfactory manner.

  8. Pingback: Message from Nurse K | WhiteCoat's Call Room

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