Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Worry Stone

I have worries that have been causing me to lose sleep at night.  I am a parent of 4 children, ages 16 to 22.  Need I say more?  When they were little, I could just put them in their cribs at night and, hopefully, go to bed.  If only now, I could just put them in their beds when I wanted to go to sleep.  For any parent of young adult children, the college winter break is a long one.  Spring semester starts tomorrow... thank goodness.

I come from a long line of worriers.  My grandpa was a worrier, who sat by the kitchen window and worried most of the time.  He worried so much, in fact, that he often had a worry stone on the table that he would rub with his thumb. I'm not sure if it eased his anxieties, but at our wits end, we will try anything to heal.

I know that worry is in the mind.  Worry is fear of something that may happen in the future.  It robs us of the present.  Native Americans must have known this long ago, as Native Americans were known to keep stones in sacred bundles, and the stones were believed to hold the power to heal. These stones were passed to each generation as a link to their ancestors. They were also rubbed between fingers to cast away worries. 

In the story The Worry Stone, by Marianna Dengler, an elderly woman tells her grandfather's story of  worry stones being the tears of Tokatu, a woman whose husband has died immediately after their marriage. Death is described as being taken away by the Wind of Time. Grandfather says that whoever finds a worry stone will be comforted, no matter what troubles they have. The worry stone helps Amanda resolve her grief when Grandfather dies.

Kaarina Dillabough, a bussiness/life coach in Ontario, tells of another legend that says, if you pick up a stone along the way of your travels, put all of your worries, fears, sadness or negative thoughts into the stone, and place it down again somewhere en route, you would leave all your troubles behind.  Unsure where the legend is from, she, herself, puts her worries into the stones she finds on her walks, and believes Mother Earth has a unique way of absorbing and refreshing the stone, such that it harms no one, and is given a “new life” itself; sorrow free…like herself.

How does this tie into literacy or teacher learning?

Teachers worry.  

They worry heavy about their students midyear.  Are they far enough along?  Am I doing all I can?  Am I teaching the right things?  Will I have enough time to teach them all I need to teach?  Inservice days, winter assessments and teacher meetings take instructional time away from teachers.  State testing looms just a few months away.  Anxiety weighs heavily on teachers.

Midyear is time to bring in the worry stones.  Share worries.  Read The Worry Stone,  or Everybody Needs A Rock,  and allow for a choosing of personal worry stones.  Let the worries transfer to the stones so that we can all live in the present and teach to the needs of our students at this place in time.  Breathe.  We are doing all we can.  Let the stone carry the burden of the rest.

Then, leave the stone at a place where you can visually see it as a reminder. 

I've got to go get my worry stone, now, and place it on my nightstand. My eldest son is in Montana, snowmobiling with buddies. 

It might need to be a big stone.

Shari :-)