Skip to main content

A peek inside "The Interpreted Rock"

By Stephen C. Schultz


I was sitting in Atlanta waiting for a flight to Bermuda. It was actually a work related trip and the conversation between my wife and I as I headed out the door was;

“Yes, it’s Bermuda. But, it’s a short stay and we will be in a workshop the whole time.”

“Oh…I’m crying crocodile tears!” she mocked.



It was no use. There is no way to gain anyone’s sympathy when you are headed to Bermuda. It is a wonderful place for sure. I’m fortunate to work with an organization that takes seriously the support and encouragement of families no matter where they are located.

I received a message on my phone from a friend who said it had been a while since I posted something on my blog. She said she looked forward to seeing what was next.

I mentioned this to my brother Jared, who was sitting next to me in the airport (why he was going to Bermuda with me is another story). I showed him the message from my friend and mentioned that I had a blog. He laughed. I mentioned it was a blog that blended personal experiences, insights, childhood memories and situations related to work. He laughed again. So, I booted up my phone and showed him the blog…he started to read. He laughed.


My brother read for a while, then looked over, raised an eyebrow and said,

“The Interpreted Rock?”

I told him the idea actually came from a conversation I had with “Doc Dan”, the former Clinical Director at RedCliff Ascent.

Back in the early days, when wilderness therapy programs were starting to be recognized as a viable treatment modality for teens, it was common for students hiking in the back country to get frustrated. It still is. But back then, when a student would swear, they would be required to pick up a rock and put it in their backpack. While this “consequence” provided an opportunity for students to “think before they act”, it was simply a consequence that soon became perceived as “Punishment”. And, punishment is a dynamic these students were very familiar with in their families of origin.

The problem, Dan said, is that the “Rock was never interpreted”! There was never any “meaning” brought to bear on the situation. There was no value to the students. It was simply an “Un-interpreted Rock”.

How often in life, when we are communicating with and parenting our own kids, do we throw around “Rocks” like; “you’re grounded!” or “…because I said so…” or “…if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times…”?

Do we take the time to interpret the situation with our kids? Do we encourage meaning, understanding and insight to take root? Or, do we simply allow consequences to be the proverbial “un-interpreted rock” in the “backpack” of our children’s lives?

So, with that explanation of my blogs title, my “PhD and trainer of therapists’’ brother nodded his head in agreement. He then glanced in my direction and with a chuckle in his voice said, “A blog…?” He laughed.

Comments

Academic said…
Thanks, Steve. YEs, it brought a nice smile.
I'd like to hear more about the "other: Discovery program about which I heard during Asheville. Geared toward trade and technical training?
Hi Stephen, love this post because it's both entertaining and informative.
Thanks so much Jennifer, It was certainly a fun time in Bermuda with my brother! I appreciate the comment! I'm glad it was informative and helpful.
Unknown said…
Your brother sounds like quite the character lol Love this piece and its application.
Thanks so much +Dyane Forde. Yes, my brother is a fun guy! He's actually taking a new position at University of Arizona this summer. Moving to Tucson...gonna be a Wildcat!

Popular posts from this blog

Lessons I learned from a childhood experience with bullying

By Stephen C. Schultz The dew around the window was starting to bead up. In a classic case of chaos theory, the little beads of water gave way to gravity and randomly bounced and bumped their way to the window sill like a steal marble in a pinball game. There was a small pool of water in the cracked and peeling beige paint. I sat facing the window, staring at the small engraved stone nestled in the flower beds. There weren’t many flowers at this time of year. Mostly rhododendrons and Oregon grapes reaching skyward from the damp bark mulch that covered the planter area.   The month of January in Eugene Oregon was filled with days and days of mist and fog.   In fact, pretty much from October through June was filled with fog, rain, mist, showers, freezing rain and occasionally snow. The local weathermen didn’t bother with predictions about the chance of precipitation; they took pride in developing new adjectives to describe the type of precipitation and how much you can expect.

Perfectly Wicked - A new take on an old fairy tale!

Guest Blogger Amanda Schultz Age 15 There she was…hair as black as night, lips as red as blood, skin as white as snow. Standing by the window, washing dishes, whistling while she worked. Snow White. I shudder with disgust every time I hear her name. What kind of a name is that anyway? “Snow White”. Gahhh, it’s a name that practically begs to be made fun of. Yet, there she goes, frolicking around like she owns the Enchanted Forest. No. I’m the Queen. I’m in charge. My magic mirror was mistaken. I’m the Fairest of them all, not that sorry excuse for a princess. One bite from my poison apple and that air-head will be so ugly not even her mother could love her. And I will be the Fairest once again! I suppose that I should rewind a little bit. It wasn’t always a competition between Snow White and me. In fact, back in the day, we had a nice little system going on. I would rule the kingdom and practice my magic, while Snow did the dishes and tended the garden. She stayed out of my w

"Sugar and Spice" - A Child's Kindness

By Stephen C. Schultz I recall a childhood rhyme that went something like this; “…sugar and spice and everything nice…that’s what little girls are made of!” As the father of three daughters and one son, there is no doubt about the truthfulness of that saying. I was in San Diego a couple of weeks ago with my family. We were down at Seaport Village right on the bay having lunch. It was a beautiful day, sun shining, light breeze and we were eating on an outside deck. We were engaged in a conversation about what we wanted to do later that day when I noticed my youngest daughter, a fifth grader, was focused on something else. So, I turned to see what she was gazing at. She was following the movements of a transient man who had walked up onto the deck and was systematically searching the garbage cans for food. He was looking in each receptacle and reaching in to move the contents around. At one can, his hand came out with a partially eaten sandwich of some kind. He reached back