As we were driving to Salem last night to run a concepting charrette for a new “history center” at the Oregon State Capitol (great project, by the way) Dave asked me to add some context comments and lists to the blog.
You’ll see those posted to the side. One of the categories I’ve entitled “My Big Rocks”. Thought most of you will have heard that metaphor, but read on if you haven’t.
A teacher standing in the front of class places on her desk a large, clear, glass vase.
She says, “What’s this?” Her students, looking at her as if she is a crazy woman, call out “It’s a vase!”
She says, “Is it empty or is it full?” One smart ass kid says, “It’s full of air” (Think: young Dave Frackelton, that’s something he would have said.)
She says, “How many of these big rocks do you think I can put in?” The kids guess, she piles them in and proves that she can just fit 7 big rocks in the vase. Or perhaps only five. It all depends on the size of those rocks.
She says, “Is it full now?” The kids crowd around her and point out one more rock might squeeze in. Then they agree it’s full.
“Nope,” she says, and pours a canister of pea gravel into the vase. The kids see the gravel fills in the spaces between the big rocks. “Now is it full?” Some say “yes”, others are no longer quite so certain.
“Let’s see,” she says, and (using a funnel perhaps) pours white, dry sand into the vase, which trickles down between the pea gravel. “Is it all full now?”
Finally she carefully pours a pitcher of water into the vase, right up to the very top. “Now,” she says, “I think it’s full”.
Last but not least she explains the lesson of the day: This experiment is like life. Your life will make more sense if you put the “big rocks” in every day of your life. If you put the water in first, you can’t add anything else or it will spill over the top. If you put the sand in first, you can’t add the gravel or the rocks. Even if you put the gravel in first, the big rocks won’t fit.
So, what’s most important to you in your life? What are the “big rocks” you need every single day….and need to make time for, BEFORE EVERYTHING ELSE? Remember, after the big rocks, there’s always time and space to add the littler stuff….the gravel, the sand and even the water.
It’s a great visual for groups of almost all ages.
(BTW, our history center project is going well. It’s the current manifestation of several of my big rocks.)