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Rock Solid

The sea entered the inlet as she always did - silently, slowly climbing the walls of the canal in the darkness of night. This night, she brought a very special gift to the shore - a handsome stone. She had found her stone in the South Seas and carried it in her currents across the Pacific, through Washington's Puget Sound and finally into the Hood Canal. She lay "Ogima", for so she had named him, gently upon the shore before receding.

In the morning, Ogima was greeted by the sun and the wind - two phenomena he had never known - and he was truly mystified. He started to move only to find that motion was a much easier task when buoyed by the ocean tides. He soon discovered that he was lodged between another rock and a hard place.

The hard place moved and he realized that it was one giant mass of mineral. She introduced herself as "B.B". Ogima had studied vocabulary at Atlantis University and was taken aback by her name.

"B.B? Why, you're much larger than a B.B." said the tactless pebble.

"Oooh, of course, I am," she replied. "The 'B.B.' stands for "Babe-a-licious Boulder." This was said with a great deal of pride for, in the rock pile bigger was always considered better.

The next voice he heard came from a crusty old rock. "Arrgh, hey you! You're blocking my sun. Now my color is going to bleach unevenly. Roll over, will ya?" he was commanded.

"Don't mind him," consoled B.B. "He's just a gallstone. They're all like that. He's trying to make himself handsome so he'll be picked up by a human and get to retire."

"Retire? What's that?" asked the naive Ogima.

"Well, now that you're a shore stone, life offers you a lot more options. The people come along and pick you up. Then they make a decision to throw you back or to keep you," explained B.B. "Gall stone is tired of being thrown around so he's hoping to end up on a shelf or in a garden somewhere. Personally, I think he'd make great asphalt."

"Well blow me over!"

Just then a new wave deposited another companion to the pile. "Yo B.B.!"

"Hi, Rocko. This is Ogima," greeted B.B.

Ogima learned that Rocko was a little battered because he loved jumping into the waves and bouncing all around. When the tides were out, he would position himself so that the incoming seas would knock him from his perch and he would plop into the water, landing on his rock bottom. He prided himself on the splash of water that his jumps would cause, calling the maneuver his "Rocko Roll." He was the idol of his loyal pebble fan club, the "Rockettes."

Deciding that shoreline life was indeed confusing, Ogima left the others on a quest for more information. His thorough research unturned such celebrities as: Oliver Stone, Sharon Stone, Stone Phillips, The Rolling Stones, the Flintstones, and Rock Hudson. But it was his internship with Albert Einstone - the acknowledged brain trust of the canal - that helped him to finally make up his mind. He looked for B.B. to tell her about his decision. He found her munching on rock candy.

"Hi, Ogima, where have you been lately?"

"Well, I've been studying and I've decided that I don't want to live on the shore. I just wasn't eroded to live a sedentary life style, nor do I wish to live in the light - leave that to the lime stones."

"Well, what do you want then?" asked his friend.

"Now that I've learned all about the wonderful options on land, I want to share my knowledge with the bedrocks further offshore, so they can have more choices in their lives."

"Arrgh, you can't do that mate," interjected the eavesdropping gallstone. "Though they're only a throw stone's away, the reality is that stones can't throw and you can't get there from here."

"Don't say 'can't'" replied the passionate young stone. "In my studies I've learned about Stonehenge and the Rock of Gibraltar. If I persevere as they did, I can reach the bedrocks one day. I refuse to have my destiny taken for granite. All I need is a plan."

So, while B.B., Gall and Rocko were taking turns jumping in the surf, Ogima began sanding himself down until he became very flat and aerodynamic. Of course the others jeered at his new look.

"Oh, rocks are much more special when they are big like me," quipped the voluptuous B.B. "You definitely need some more stone on your bones if you want to get out of here."

"Arrgh..and you'll never be pretty without any contours," jibed Gall.

"Yo, Ogima, hey watch me do my new move," requested the ever-shallow Rocko.

But the stone ignored their banter and focused on his mission. After a very long wait - about a half a stone age - his dream was realized when a human hand reached down and an adolescent voice said, "Wow, look at this one. Terrance, I bet it'll get 10 skips."

Then the hand cocked to the side and, with a swift flick, Ogima was released and skittered along the water touching the surface a record 25 times. Each time he hit, the stone gave his message about the potential of life on the shore and the skills needed to get there. In all 25 locations the impact of his touch created concentric ripples which carried his message farther and farther until millions of bedrocks had new options in their lives. He signed his messages with his name, "OGIMA." However, when read from under the sea, the letters spelled "Amigo". And, to this day, in many cultures, "Amigo" still means "friend."

That night, when the sea returned, as she always did, she asked once again about her special stone, whereupon she heard the first telling of what was to become, "The Legend of Ogima: Friend to the Small Ones."

It Follows:
A mentor is not measured by the splash he makes when he enters the water, but rather by the ripples he leaves in his wake.

Rock Solid was written and narrated by Julie Reder Fairley. This parable is dedicated to the wonderful educators of Washington State, especially Judy Margrath Huge.


Guiding Questions for "Rock Solid"


This fable is about the responsibility of one generation to the education of the next. In your organization, what formal programs exist for mentoring? Are they effective? How do you know?

2. When people fail to see options in their lives, they sometimes become fearful of "making waves" and compromising their security. How have you handled situations in which ethics and politics collide?
3. Everyone becomes confused on occasion. Do you seek additional information to assist you when in a dilemma? Can you give an example of a time when such information has positively affected your decision making?
4. Perseverance in the face of prolonged challenge is essential, but often exhausting. How do you replenish your physical and spiritual strength in order to persevere?
5. In your career, whom have you mentored? What would those people say about you now? Whom have they mentored in turn? Take time to contemplate and enjoy the ripples you have made. How will you continue?

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