Back in January 2014 I wrote a StoryWriting Studio post about Holocaust survivor Agi Geva who spoke to a group at the University of Central Arkansas. I will never forget her answer when asked, “What would you say to someone who claimed the Holocaust never existed?”
She simply rolled up her sleeve and revealed a somewhat faded prisoner number still tattooed on her arm. I snapped a picture and remembered her message: “Never forget.”
There are some lessons in life that we should not forget. When we write those lessons down through our family stories, we can touch the lives of generations we will never see.
Marilyn Conley shared a wonderful story about her son Adam. As I read it, I remembered another little boy, and couldn’t help but smile.
Enjoy, and please let me know if Marilyn’s story reminds you of anyone.
Rocks in His Pocket
by Marilyn Band Conley
In 1989, when my son Adam was almost four, we lived in Columbia, S.C., while my husband was completing nursing school. I was teaching middle school English at a small Christian school where I could enroll my two boys in the preschool.
Adam was one of those children who was blessed with a high IQ but had trouble listening and following rules in a structured environment . At that time he was into “rock collecting.” The playground at our school was covered in tiny pebbles, and Adam was frustrating his teacher by stuffing his pockets with these little rocks every time he was on the playground.
She could never see him doing it (he was very sneaky), but she spent the rest of the day dealing with the aftermath. She would find pebbles in the toilet, the play area, and even on the sleeping mats. When I found out about it, we had a little chat with Adam and absolutely forbid him from putting a single rock in his pocket during school. We had him repeat the rule, and he clearly understood.
The next day his teacher checked his pockets when they were leaving the playground, Adam was clean! No problems all day. I praised him that evening and problem solved! But not really.
Preparing to give him a bath before bedtime, I began to undress Adam, again praising him for the empty pockets. But when I started removing his Ninja Turtle Underroos, suddenly dozens of pebbles came spilling out. I was taken aback that he had blatantly disobeyed us that way.
Adam immediately said, “Mommy, you said no rocks in my pockets. You didn’t say I couldn’t put them in my underpants!”
Outsmarted by a four-year-old again. I couldn’t help smiling when he turned around and I saw his little backside covered with tiny indentations made by the pebbles. To avoid detection, he had sat on those rocks all day. The pebbles obviously meant more to him than comfort, and we went back to square one.
Over the years as I have shared this story with folks, it has occurred to me that we adults pull this on God all the time. We clearly know what He expects of us, but we convince ourselves that we can sneak a bad habit or inappropriate word in occasionally as long as we don’t get caught. We know God sees and hears everything, yet we embrace a spiritual denial as though we’re getting away with it. Just like my little son’s backside, we are left with sore and scarred lives.
Our precious Lord takes us back to the Word, forgives us, and patiently guides us to a place of integrity and honesty. If we refuse to correct our disobedience, we can suffer with painful scars for a long time.
Four-year-old boys are expected to pull stunts like Adam’s because they are not equipped yet to understand the bigger picture. It must grieve God to deal with toddler behavior in forty-year olds who have been saved for years without displaying much growth in their spirituality.
Children are amazing teachers unaware. My daughter-in-law has assured me that Adam is pebble free these days.
“Rocks in His Pocket” © Marilyn Band Conley. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Photo used with permission.