Home > Education, Family, Friendship, Life, Love > Diamond in the Rough

Diamond in the Rough


This week I can’t help but be thankful for the people in my life, my children and our health.

It’s a tradition in the school I work at, to celebrate each year’s accomplishments at a Stepping Stones ceremony in June. Throughout the year some of the faculty collect beautiful stones from a wide variety of places for each student to pick from.

A few years ago, one of our senior graduates turned the tradition around. He’d gone mining earlier in the year and instead of just taking a stone for himself, he gave each member of the faculty and staff a Herkimer diamond. It was a touching gesture.

Mine, was stolen from a drawer in my bedroom a year-and-a-half ago.

He passed away a little over a year ago.

This particular graduate was an extraordinary human being. I knew he could write, memorize and recite complicated monologues. But it wasn’t until his memorial service that I discovered the breadth of his artistic abilities. It was there that I was given a glimpse into just how talented he was. I didn’t know he had such an incredible eye for photography or that he whittled the pieces of an entire chess set out of wood or fashioned a beautiful wooden flute for his mom. He also made grand bags out of leather and bark and created with glass. He made beautiful marbles and knives. He was quite the unique individual and his art reflected that. In this technological age of all things electronic, he was a breath of fresh air.

He was a diamond in the rough.

Recently, his mom who is also an artist, had an art exhibit entitled 100 Hearts in his honor. I have three.

I spent a few days with her this summer at our place in the woods Upstate. I read her beautifully drawn journals, the ones that try to put into perspective what her daily life is like now without her son, how her grief is endless and how grateful she is for the time she had with him. As a mother I am in awe of her strength sometimes and heartbroken by her loss, always.

Just before the Thanksgiving break, I was in her classroom and she handed me a small bundle of tissue. Beneath the folds of the carefully wrapped paper lay not one but two of the Herkimer diamonds her son mined that year.

One is clear and small. The other is larger and contains rare impurities. Both are beautiful in their own special way. Heart stop.

Needless to say thoughts of this young man and his spirit have lingered with me all week-long.

Gratitude. Be happy for what you have — right now.

This week in particular, I’m thankful for the people in my life, my children and our health.

Hug your diamonds in the rough today.

Photo Credit #1 Gratitude

Photo Credit #2 Stones

Photo Credit #3 ©Karen Szczuka Teich & Takingtheworldonwithasmile.com

Photo Credit #4  Children

Categories: Education, Family, Friendship, Life, Love Tags:
  1. Anonymous
    November 27, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Beautiful Karen, so beautiful. As I type this my sweet heart that I chose from the collection is right above my desk, right there for me to see and notice with a prayer each day. You know, some are not so rough around the edges…thank you for being one of the shining diamonds in my life, xod


  2. November 27, 2011 at 7:36 am

    You have no idea how often you’ve lit up my life, d — not only mine but my children’s and so many others. Your sparkle has gotten me through many a not-so-shiny day. Thank you for reading, commenting and being who you are.


  3. Anonymous
    November 27, 2011 at 7:57 am

    What a beautiful story, Karen. Very poignant. After reading it, I think that you may be a diamond in the rough. 🙂


    • November 27, 2011 at 10:10 pm

      Thank you for stopping by, for your reading and for your kind comments.


  4. November 27, 2011 at 10:08 am

    There are many diamonds in the rough in this world- thanks for reminding us to take the time to see through the outside to the true beauty within.


  5. Nicole
    November 27, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Beautiful….I still have my diamond that he gave me, tucked away in a special place .


    • November 27, 2011 at 10:11 pm

      Good for you, Nicole! Thanks so much for reading & commenting!


  6. anita
    November 27, 2011 at 11:11 am

    I can’t even begin to imagine how I would get through a single day without my diamond in the rough. I have been so fortunate and blessed. My son has returned home…a 20-something courageously reinventing his life in an economy that is unwelcoming, but in a world that is abundant. He and my wonderful partner (who opened both home and heart to my son) are the blessings in my life. I am grateful.
    Karen, you write so eloquently of two people who I know and love. Thank you.


    • November 27, 2011 at 10:13 pm

      Thank you, Anita — for reading & commenting!


  7. MOM
    November 27, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Karen,the way you write about people is sincere, beautiful,and l am blessed to have you as a daughter.


    • November 27, 2011 at 10:15 pm

      Oh, go on Mama….. seriously, I mean it, — go on!! 🙂


  8. MOM
    November 27, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Karen, you are a gem in my eyes.


  9. jen
    November 27, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Beautiful Karen. Been thinking of you all week.


    • November 27, 2011 at 10:14 pm

      Awe….thanks, Jen. 🙂


  10. singleworkingmomswm
    November 28, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Sometimes I have to read and re-read a post…the ones that say so much in the white spaces and are so touching as this one is. The stepping stones tradition is beautiful, and the student’s gesture, amazing along with all he could do and what sounds to be an incredible gift of soul he left behind. As a mom, the sadness of not having my child in this life is unimaginable, and all the more reason to cherish each moment for its worth. We only have today, right now, really. I’m thankful, too, Karen, for the same things.


  11. November 28, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Kasey, your comments are as beautifully-heart-felt written as your blog posts are! You so get it, every time and you seem to sum up in just a few sentences what I try to say in a whole post! Thank you so much for reading and for leaving behind your thoughtful, lovely words.


  12. uravnrep
    November 29, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    This is an inspiring story in a bittersweet way. Thank you for sharing and reminding us how time is so precious which shouldn’t be wasted. I think I am going to go hug my toddlers now.


  13. November 29, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Yay! Thank you for stopping by, reading and commenting!!


  14. Goldy
    November 30, 2011 at 4:13 am

    Please know that you, also, are a wonderful gift. Your generousity of spirit awes me.
    With much love and gratitude for you and your thoughtful words,


  15. November 30, 2011 at 9:05 am

    No words Goldy. Thank you.


  16. December 1, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Karen, thank you for sharing this beautiful, touching story.


  17. December 3, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Thanks for reading & commenting YAW!


  1. December 5, 2011 at 9:16 pm

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