A Jar of Rocks
A while back, a post from Garry Rodgers introduced me to the weekly newsletter from Farnam Street.
This past Sunday’s offerings included a variation on something I used to do with my 7th grade science students early in the semester, which was to take two graduated cylinders, each with 100 ml of a clear liquid and pour the contents into a third graduate. The combined liquids did not reach the 200 ml line, and we discussed possible explanations of why. Answer in the comments.
The article included in Farnam Street was similar, but the teacher’s goal went beyond the science. I thought it worth sharing at this time of year, especially after NaNoWriMo, where word count became the focus of participants.
A high school science teacher wanted to demonstrate a concept to his students. He takes a large-mouth jar and places several large rocks in it. He then asks the class, “Is it full?”
Unanimously, the class replies, “Yes!”
The teacher then takes a bucket of gravel and pours it into the jar. The small rocks settle into the spaces between the big rocks.
He then asks the class, “Is it full?”
This time there are some students holding back, but most reply, “Yes!” The teacher then produces a large can of sand and proceeds to pour it into the jar. The sand fills up the spaces between the gravel.
For the third time, the teacher asks, “Is it full?”
Most of the students are wary of answering, but again, many reply, “Yes!”
Then the teacher brings out a pitcher of water and pours it into the jar. The water saturates the sand. At this point, the teacher asks the class, “What is the point of this demonstration?”
One bright young student raises his hand and then responds, “No matter how full one’s schedule is in life, he can always squeeze in more things!”
“No,” replies the teacher, “The point is that unless you first place the big rocks into the jar, you are never going to get them in. The big rocks are the important things in your life …your family, your friends, your personal growth. If you fill your life with small things, as demonstrated by the gravel, the sand, and the water…you will never have the time for the important things.
So, what are the “Big Rocks” in your life? Spending time with your children, your parents or your spouse? Taking the seminar or class to get the information and perspective you need to succeed? Making the time to set goals, plan or evaluate your progress? When you are hassled because there is no time, remember the story about the Big Rocks and the Jar!”
— Author Unknown
All right TKZers, at this busy time of year, what are your Big Rocks?
(If anyone knows why I didn’t get 200 ml of liquid, feel free to mention it in the comments. Or take a guess.)
Have a safe and happy holiday season no matter what you celebrate (or don’t).
See you in 2023!
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Terry Odell is an award-winning author of Mystery and Romantic Suspense, although she prefers to think of them all as “Mysteries with Relationships.”