Pretend You Have a Balloon

We had our monthly Character Assembly on Monday and it was a great one on Forgiveness. Marie shared a poem and a wonderful, visual exercise to help us let go and forgive. We all did it together and had lots of fun watching our balloons full of negative feelings fly away. I’m including all of what Marie said in the hopes that we can all keep our pretend balloons, strings and scissors handy for when we need them most. Congratulations to all of our Forgiveness certificate recipients, including the entire Grade 2/3 class! Thank you to Cormac and Sophia for doing a great job of the morning announcements and well done Alexa for knowing that our next character trait is Humility.

Kelly Scott
Director of admission
Children’s Garden School


‘Forgiveness is really a choice that we have as human beings. When something happens we have a choice to let go of anger toward someone who hurt us and to think, feel, or act with kindness toward that person or we can choose NOT to forgive. You should know that the act of forgiveness is not being weak – it takes strength and courage to forgive. It is also not forgetting, condoning, or putting up with being hurt; you can forgive while still seeking justice. And forgiveness is different than reconciling with someone; you can forgive without receiving an apology.

It is important to understand that learning to let go may take time. The important lesson is to keep trying, making efforts, understanding forgiveness and loving kindness. Anger plus anger only equals more anger. Compassion and love are what heals.

I want to share a great poem with you that really explains the importance of forgiveness.  It is called Pockets Full of Rocks and is about a boy named Malcolm Tent.’

Malcolm Tent was just fine. He was doing OK,
Till he went to his classroom one dark, stormy day,
And his teacher, Ms. Krabb, blew her cork, flipped her lid,
Blaming Malcolm for something that someone else did.

“It just wasn’t fair! It just wasn’t right!”
Malcolm said to himself at the bus stop that night.
“I will not forgive, and I will not forget!”
He promised himself in the cold and the wet.

Looking down as the rain soaked his left shoe and sock,
He saw something shiny, a rain-slickened rock.
“What a perfect reminder, my best idea yet!
This rock will remind me to never forget.”

But Malcolm soon found one rock wasn’t enough.
Turns out he was bothered by all kinds of stuff.
Malcolm got quite annoyed with the things people do
’Cause he didn’t remember that he’s “people” too.

So finding more pebbles, more stones, and more rocks,
He put them in pockets—even down in his socks.
(“If you want to stay grumpy and grouchy all day,
A sore foot’s the best thing,” our Malcolm would say.)

The trouble with rocks is they’re hard and they’re bumpy.
They make your clothes saggy; you start to look lumpy.
But that’s not the worst thing that happened to Tent.
Inside he was hardening, just like cement.

Till walking one day in the rain, all dejected,
He saw himself in a large puddle reflected.
His first thought was, Wow! That’s one big lumpy rock!
“No, wait! That is me!” he exclaimed with a shock.

“Oh, what am I doing?” he heard himself groan.
“My heart is now nearly as hard as a stone.”
After thinking all night, Malcolm said, “Now I see.
When I don’t forgive others, I hurt only me.”

So he took all the stones from his pockets and socks
And built a rock garden with all of those rocks.
Then, every time someone did him a good deed,
Malcolm went to his garden and planted a seed.

Now Malcolm grows beautiful veggies and blossoms,
And everyone says that his garden looks awesome.
He doesn’t look lumpy; he smiles a lot too.
‘Cause he only remembers the good people do.

‘Now before we finish, I want to give you a pretend balloon. I want you to think of a time that someone hurt you, or your feelings and maybe made you feel angry, sad or embarrassed. Now I want you to take your pretend balloon and blow all those feelings into it. Okay, now imagine that your balloon full of all these yucky feelings is tied to you by an imaginary string. When you are ready to let go I am going to give out some pretend scissors. Now cut that balloon loose from the string.  Imagine the balloon sailing high into the sky. It’s flying away from you. You are now free of all those negative feelings. But oh wow, look what’s happening up there…the balloon has gently popped and is spreading a dusting of love and compassion not only to you but to the person who hurt you! The next time you are hurt by someone I want you to remember this little game we played and try it out.  It really works.’

Marie Bates
Children’s Garden School