My daughter had started a new trend where every night after we tucked her into bed she would creep downstairs and tell us something she was worrying about. The worries ranged from tiny things that happened to her during the day all the way to worries about natural disasters and world wars. She would tell me her worry and insist that it was bothering her so much she could not stay in bed and that was making her stomach hurt. The first few nights I indulged her with some comforting words and assured her that she was safe in her bed and to go to sleep. As the week progressed the worries got more and more elaborate and we had to nip this little trend in the bud.
I tried calming her down with some breathing techniques, but that didn’t work. Bedtime tea didn’t help her relax anymore than the warm glass of milk did. I tried to have her tell me her worries before bed, but she insisted she didn’t even think of them until she was alone in her room.
I then told her I knew exactly what would help. I walked into my room and looked for something to help serve the purpose I needed. I shuffled through my junk drawer and found an old polished stone that I had been saving for no particular reason. My mind ran as I tried to think of how I was going to make this work. I acted quickly and brought the stone into her room. I placed it in her hands and together we grasped the stone and held it tight. “What is this rock? “, she asked “Sweetie…” I said, “This…is…a worry rock”.
She looked both confused and amazed as I explained to her that a “worry rock” was exactly what she needed. I told her that when she had a worry she could use her mind to place it inside the rock and the rock would keep it there forever. Our worries would be safe inside the rock and she would not have to worry about them anymore. “How does it work, Dad?” she asked. As I have a strong policy of not lying to my daughter I had to tell her the truth. “The only reason the “worry rock” works is because you believe that works.” That was all she needed to hear. She held the rock tightly, closed her eyes and I could tell she was putting all her worries inside that little rock. It was hard for me not to tear up as I gave her a hug and kissed her on her for head as I told her good night.
The next morning waking her up for school, I saw the rock on the floor next to her bed. “How did the rock work?” I asked. “Oh dad! It worked really really good!”
I was pleased that she was able to put her worries aside, and she has put a lot of stock in how well that rock works. Fortunately for my conscience, it always the absolute truth. The worry rock does work precisely because you believe it does. Maybe I will start carrying one around myself. I believe it works too, after all, I’ve seen the proof.