Our kids enjoy playing games with us, the current favourite is ‘Pop to the Shops‘. Cleaning up afterwards is always a challenge, especially putting the various board pieces into the box. Given that the little pieces are on top of the big ones when we play, the kids naturally put those in the box first and the biggest pieces last. The problem is, once the little pieces are in the box, the big ones won’t fit.
Each time we clean up, I’m reminded of the story of the teacher with the jar who puts 3 big rocks into it – is it full she asks? Yes. But then she puts gravel in – is it full she asks? Yes. But then she puts sand in – is it full she asks? Yes. But then she puts water in – is it full she asks? Yes.
The stories are reminders that if we don’t choose to put the big things in first, they won’t fit. The order matters.
This can help us plan our day, but this is also why our ethics and humanitarian principles matter. If we understand our purpose, the purpose of aid agencies; if this is our big rocks, then it impacts our other choices. And yes, sometimes the reverse helps too as we can determine what our ‘big rocks’ are by looking at the smaller choices we make.