graduation gift idea: character affirmation rocks

ok, this is a bit more martha stewart than i normally get. but last night i had my last small group meeting with my 8th grade guys. i’ve been their small group leader for 3 years, and have really seen them grow from little boys to young men.

i wanted to do something for them, give them a gift of some sort. but it was more important to me that the gift had meaning, and a bit of a prophetic voice into their lives, than that it be something “fun”. and, i couldn’t afford to spend a wad o’ cash on them.

so i went to a place that sells rocks for landscaping, and bought five fist-sized smooth rocks (it was pretty funny, because they place normally sells stuff by the pallet, or at least by the bushel, and i bought 5 rocks. the guy helping me set them on this MASSIVE scale, and told me it was going to be $1.57). then i went to a craft store and picked up a couple paint pens (sharpie) — a metallic silver one with a wide point, and a black one with a medium point.

i thought up short character-type phrases of something i see in each of them. these are kernels at this point, but are clearly there, and can be something that will define what kind of man each of them will be in the years to come. and, as you can see, i wrote those on the rocks. i gave them to the guys, in the presence of the whole group, and said some words about why i see this character in them, how it can be used by god for good, and a little caution about what it’s shadow side might be (particularly if they’re not dependent on god).

here’s a photo of the rocks. but in case you can’t clearly read them (click on the pic for a larger version), they say:


my hope is that the literal weightiness of the rocks will cause them to be placed on a desk or nightstand or somewhere where the guys will see them everyday in the next few years, and that they’ll be a reminder of the unique way god has wired each of them to bless the world.

3 thoughts on “graduation gift idea: character affirmation rocks”

  1. martha stewart would be proud. my kid is elated and carrying his around like a badge. I think he’s gonna carry it in his backpack or something he’s so stoked on it. Thanks for loving on and investing in my son and by default, blessing me. You deserve a rock that says, “world-class encourager”.

  2. That’s an awesome idea Marko. Amazing how the simple little gestures like this can be some of the best ideas. Thanks for this– something many of can apply!

  3. What an incredibly cool idea. i love it! I wish I could have given something similar to each of my 4th graders as they left my classroom today. Maybe next year . . .

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