What can a Jar teach us?


What have I gone and done now? You see a picture of a large $2 jar with a set of rocks in it and a purple ribbon on top. What is this? Its something I came up with this weekend, this past July my family and I joined a group of friends up north for a beach weekend thanks to my wife’s aunt and uncle. It was nice to get away with friends, had my son play with our friends’ kids an just enjoy life a bit. We don’t do it very much as we would like to. Well, during that time, Tyler and I picked up several beautiful rocks that had washed up with the lake water on the beach. We collected several and for the last few months I have searched for the right type of jar to put them in. I found the said jar last Friday while doing some shopping in the mark down aisle at the store. When we got home I gathered up all of our beach rocks and I put them in the far filling it half way up. However, once the rocks were wall in I felt something was missing and I saw my one of our purple ribbons laying on the counter from Melissa cleaning up our kitchen drawers. It was then that I put it on top of the jar and glued it on. I took a picture and shared it on Instagram saying: “This shows my support for Epilepsy.” “You are my rock in life.” My wife has had Epilepsy since she was 6 years old and it changed her life forever but she wouldn’t let it define who she was. The two of us met 6 years ago this week over a coffee order at my old job. The following summer, I was directing a play for the community theatre and those were some hard nights and Melissa was there for me during those difficult nights even when she wasn’t there in person, I knew she was still supporting me from far away.

Flash forward to a few years later and she said during a meeting in Chicago about Epilepsy and she told a person who was getting ready to get married and how much that person met to them. Melissa said to them: “Yeah, my husband has been my rock the last few years.” Those words moved me and I smiled. Just the other day one of my son’s classmates was having a tough day and Tyler shared his school iPad with them making them feel so much better. Its small moments like that, that can mean the world to another person. So, taking a chapter out of What’s Under your Cape? and Teach Like a Pirate and my upcoming 30 Days of Empathy with Stick Around. I decided to create this lesson for students for both classic crafts a little digital learning thrown in (I do love the blended learning).

1. Pick up a set of jars from the dollar store and bring them to class. Tell students that they are going choose from a set of stones that you can also pick up at the store. Tell them they are making Empathy jars for people on days they need something to remind them that nothing bad lasts forever. Have them also make their own ribbons and what they stand for. It can be: “This is a yellow ribbon for when it rains outside because the sun will still shine afterwards.” Or “this is an orange ribbon because fall is here and the leaves are changing and we know winter will be here soon, let’s enjoy the season.” Then, after that have the jars go to their classmates who need it on those days. The students though pick when they feel they are needed for their classmates and not the teacher. Truth be told a few years ago, I read about a student put together a gem jar for their teacher because their husband had just had surgery and it was a healing jar since he loved to run and that he would run again. Moved the teacher to tears.

2. Going digital, have students do the same with either PowerPoint, Keynote, Google Slides or Haiku Deck. Have them making a presentation in the same manner with what will bring a smile to another student. Once complete, leave QR Codes after the presentations have been uploaded to a Google Drive, Dropbox, or Copy folder. Then when the student needs it, they can just scan the QR and download it. They can even make it into a movie export and use Aurasma to scan the target image when they need it.

That’s it, the simplest ways to show us empathy for another and also bring out the classic phrase: “One kind word from a person can change their whole day.” Give it a try.


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