Learning Kindness, The Hard Way

Originally published on Stroller Full of Fun:

Kindness ROCKS! Or at least that’s what I’m teaching my five-year old son.

An inspiring project is taking the internet by storm – and is much more meaningful than another viral sensation, a spinning gadget.

Did you know that kids, adults, and artists are painting small rock masterpieces and hiding them in public? There are countless Facebook groups in which painters share clues about where they’re hiding them – and people are posting their pretty rock finds. (TIP: Search the name of your town/city/region + “Rocks” on Facebook. For example: Tampa Rocks, Sarasota Rocks, etc.)

After painting his rocks, and letting them dry for 24 hours, my little artist couldn’t wait to go to a nearby shopping center to hide them. But before they were ready, I wrote some positive messages on top of the rocks in black ink: a heart on one, “BeYOUtiful” on another. Then, without explaining the complexity of hashtags to my son, I marked each one with #StrollerRocks.

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Photo: Stroller Full of Fun

We belong to a number of local rock painting groups, each of which encourages the use of their hashtags – but for our first time, I decided on making up our own. After stuffing his pockets with five rocks, my son took off with his Dad to hide them around a Target near our home in Sarasota, Florida.

The first Tweet came about ten hours later…

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A woman from Citrus County, 130 miles away, was the first to post my little one’s rock. Not surprising, because the shopping center is extremely close to a major highway. She found us by searching #StrollerRocks. I posted the hashtag on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

I received word on Facebook from a second woman about an hour later. I would soon learn that the two women are sisters, and it was their daughters who found the rocks:

We were traveling north from Manasota Key and stopped at Chipotle and found the white one with the blue Mickey Mouse head on it. My daughter rehid it at a rest stop down 75 almost to Bushnell… We just want you to know how excited she was because we do #Invernessrocks and #Brooksvillerocks

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Incredible! Now my little boy’s creation has traveled more than 100 miles to make someone else smile. You can imagine the joy on my son’s face when I relayed these messages.

He asked me to send each person who discovers his rocks a smiley face emoji because quote, “I like to make people happy.”

If that doesn’t send you running out the door to bring home your own set of rocks and paint, I don’t know what will. There are so many people who could use a smile today.

The lessons we teach our kids need to outweigh all of the negativity and bullying in our society. If my child can make another person smile because of his kind act, then I’m doing my job by raising a thoughtful, caring person.

To the moms who kindly entertained my hashtag, THANK YOU. One small gesture can go a long way! We’ve still got a few rocks out there and dozens more to hide. I know this will be a memorable summer journey!

Ready to get started in the Kindness Rocks movement? Need some artistic inspiration? Visit our Pinterest page for ideas!

Here’s What You Need To Make Kindness Rocks*:

  • River or Landscaping Rocks available at Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and more.
  • Paint & Paintbrush
  • Sharpie Marker
  • Clear Coat or Outdoor Sealant (to protect the paint through weather)

*We found a rock painting kit for five dollars at the store, Five Below, which includes about thirty rocks, paint, and a paintbrush.

Follow us on social media – and share your stories of kindness with us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

melissa

Melissa Parker
Let’s Be Besties
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