Thursday, November 30, 2017

Kindness Rocks

 "It's the thought that counts."

We've all heard it ... though hopefully not when the wrapping paper is coming off of a present we've carefully chosen.

When you look up the origin of the phrase in the Oxford Dictionary, it says this:
Used to indicate that it is the kindness behind an act that matters, however imperfect or insignificant the act may be.
It seems to be the perfect phrase to describe my PEO chapter's foray into a national project, Kindness Rocks.
Photo from the Kindness Rocks website
When Randy and I were at the Black Hills National Cemetery, we found a rock on a memorial marker there. (See below.)
Later, when I was trying to come up with an idea for a PEO program, I remembered the rock. I was chairman for our annual PEO fundraising night. In recent years, each member has brought homemade or purchased items for a silent auction. The proceeds would go to PEO Projects - both our annual local scholarship for a high school senior girl and for PEO International projects, many of which benefit education for women.

This year, we decided to try something different: Each PEO member was asked to figure out the financial investment of time,  effort and supplies she would have expended to make baked goods, frame a photo, construct a handmade quilt or some other project. Then, she could just contribute that amount of money to the treasury. 

Part of the entertainment in previous fundraisers was the silent auction itself. So I was looking for a fun activity to fill the time. Our Stafford Recreation Commission Director Jan VanDam came to mind. She brought the Kindness Rocks Project to Stafford. She'd worked with children at Oktoberfest and led a session at the Senior Center. She'd toted her rocks and paints to the Stafford Library and other organizations. We seemed to fit the demographic - in other words, anyone who could wield a paintbrush or a marker!

So, what is The Kindness Rocks project? According to their website,

Goal #1: Inspire others through randomly placed rocks along the way…

Goal #2: Recruit every person who stumbles upon it to join in the pursuit of inspiring others through random acts of kindness

Jan brought the rocks and paint. The committee supplied some oil-based Sharpie markers. And the PEO ladies brought the ideas. 

Some are true artists. Some - like me - are not.

But all of us brought a can-do attitude. And the results were as varied as the people who made the rocks. And there's true beauty in that. For some of we "paint-challenged" ladies, I'd purchased some scrapbook idea-ology word bands and metal wire at Hobby Lobby (an idea I found on the blog, Skip to My Lou.
But there were plenty of artists in our group, too, as evidenced by these creative rocks:
When the evening was over, Jan took the rocks and sprayed them with a clear acrylic coating. And these missives of kindness and hope went out into the streets of Stafford. As the video says:  

What our world needs now is kindness and connection.

What if we were able to block out all the negativity that surrounds us 
and we were only receptive to thoughts, ideas and images
 that were positive and uplifting? 

What if kindness became a connecting force for good?

Together, we can make it happen ...
With the deluge of disheartening news in the world, I hope that the someone who finds a rock that says "Smile" or "Be Kind" or "Enjoy" gets a gentle nudge to do just that. 

Spreading a little kindness? It seems like a good idea to me. And even better? We raised more money for PEO projects than we had in recent years - a total of $890! That money will spread a lot of kindness, too, both locally and nationally.  

Here's a link to a downloadable "how to" from The Kindness Rocks website. And here's another blog that gives tips for crafting the rocks, Crafts Unleashed.