Pockets Full of Rocks
By Larry Hiller
Malcolm Tent was just fine. He was doing OK,
Till he went to his classroom one dark, stormy day,
And his teacher, Ms. Krabb, blew her cork, flipped her lid,
Blaming Malcolm for something that someone else did.
“It just wasn’t fair! It just wasn’t right!”
Malcolm said to himself at the bus stop that night.
“I will not forgive, and I will not forget!”
He promised himself in the cold and the wet.
Looking down as the rain soaked his left shoe and sock,
He saw something shiny, a rain-slickened rock.
“What a perfect reminder, my best idea yet!
This rock will remind me to never forget.”
But Malcolm soon found one rock wasn’t enough.
Turns out he was bothered by all kinds of stuff.
Malcolm got quite annoyed with the things people do
’Cause he didn’t remember that he’s “people” too.
So finding more pebbles, more stones, and more rocks,
He put them in pockets—even down in his socks.
(“If you want to stay grumpy and grouchy all day,
A sore foot’s the best thing,” our Malcolm would say.)
The trouble with rocks is they’re hard and they’re bumpy.
They make your clothes saggy; you start to look lumpy.
But that’s not the worst thing that happened to Tent.
Inside he was hardening, just like cement.
Till walking one day in the rain, all dejected,
He saw himself in a large puddle reflected.
His first thought was, Wow! That’s one big lumpy rock!
“No, wait! That is me!” he exclaimed with a shock.
“Oh, what am I doing?” he heard himself groan.
“My heart is now nearly as hard as a stone.”
After thinking all night, Malcolm said, “Now I see.
When I don’t forgive others, I hurt only me.”
So he took all the stones from his pockets and socks
And built a rock garden with all of those rocks.
Then, every time someone did him a good deed,
Malcolm went to his garden and planted a seed.
Now Malcolm grows beautiful veggies and blossoms,
And everyone says that his garden looks awesome.
He doesn’t look lumpy; he smiles a lot too.
’Cause he only remembers the good people do.
In short, a boy named Malcolm collected rocks every time someone or something made him mad. I brought a bunch of rocks and made a boy stand in front of the room and as I read the story, we loaded him down with rocks, adding suspenders, a coat with many pockets and a backpack. We then discussed at the close of the story, how to unburden ourselves from bad feelings we harbor for others. We took rocks out at every suggestion, and this kept the kids completely entertained!!!!