They all did it, but my youngest boy was the worst for it. He had a rock in his hand, and a second one stashed in his mouth, almost all the time. He loved, I mean he LOVED throwing rocks.
It was a problem.
Because people don’t like being hit by rocks. And people don’t like their stuff being hit by rocks. And people just plain don’t like to see kids throwing rocks, period.
My story begins a decade ago, and we are at church, and it is after the service is finished and everyone is standing around in the parking lot visiting and a kid comes to tell me that Carter is throwing rocks again.
I feel all the hot things you feel when your kid is being bad, especially when your kid is being bad in public, and maybe extra especially when the public is church. I’m frustrated. And angry. And plain fed up with the boy.
I do the not-very-gentle-haul-the-kid-away-from-THE-EYES-by-the-arm thing that moms do, and we’re sitting in the truck, and I say…
Carter, why do you throw rocks?
And he looks at me, all sincere-eyes and honest-face, and he says, I have to throw rocks, mom. They’re there and I can’t help myself and I just have to.
I’ve thought often over the years about that little conversation. The rock-throwing boy is almost a teenager now, and the next boy is almost grown and the other boy is even more grown and they are all on their journeys away from home and into The World. And the rock throwing has turned into bike riding and tree climbing and home leaving.
This isn’t a parenting post, not really. It’s not about whether moms should let kids do what they want, or whether moms worry too much about what other people think, or whether rock-throwing is an important developmental stage and stifling it might stifle a child’s sense of who he really is and is meant to be in the world. It’s not any of that.
I get that throwing rocks can be dangerous.
But I also get that sometimes we all (or maybe its just me?) have rock throwing needs.
That feeling that there is something there and I just.can’t.help.myself. and if I’d just pick it up and do with it what I’m meant to do, there would be some kind of grand awesomeness.
The problem is that my whole life I’ve been told not to throw rocks, so I don’t.
My word for this year is DO. This year, I’m limbering up my throwing arm.