If it seems like aggressive political movements have taken over our country and we are left in hopeless despair caused by rampant racism and discord, turn off the television news and turn on Facebook groups.
Type the word "rocks" into the group's search bar. Now see how many hundreds of results you get with cutely painted rocks on the cover.
In a previous article, I shared how a craft has become a community building activity that has gone global.
Since I wrote the article two weeks ago, my local chapter, Valdosta Rocks, has grown by over 2,000 people and the number climbs every day (and we are a small town). Fun and kindness are much more contagious than hate! So, here are a few of the reasons you should try getting involved in The Kindness Rocks Project!
1. It's a creative outlet
I'm a hobby dabbler and painting isn't my expertise, but it sure is relaxing. You take this smooth rock, coat it in a layer of paint, create designs any way you choose, and seal it. Time slows down and you're left with creating something from a simple natural element. Everyone should have a creative outlet to get away from busy lifestyles, stress, bleak headlines, and responsibilities for a while. This is an easy one to get started on and you can connect with other people who are also engaged in the activity!
2. It's an ageless activity
From toddlers to retirees, almost anyone can do this. I love looking at our Facebook group and seeing small children painting, hiding, and finding these rocks while adults show off their latest creations and drop hints about where they rocked them. It's truly for all ages!
3. All levels of artistry can participate
It's all about the art of connection! From simple designs to the extraordinarily detailed, people share their creations and just have fun interacting with each other. Sometimes someone will post a picture of rock art they are so proud of, they keep it; most are given away though!
4. It gives you a reason to get outside
In case you've been living under a rock, the way this works is you paint rocks, hide some, find some, re-hide, and share on social media. If you have permission from local businesses, you can hide rocks inside, but often rocks are hidden outside where it is easy for a lot of people to have access and find the rocks. The project began on the beach which is a very appropriate place to stash rocks.
5. It promotes random acts of kindness
Painting rocks to give away is a random act of kindness which is where the name comes from. Although rock and shell painting are at the forefront of the movement, other acts of kindness are highly encouraged such as leaving notes or writing inspirational messages on the rocks. The emphasis is on putting others first, paying it forward, and proving it is better to give than to receive.
6. It's fun to see how far your rock can travel
Usually people will write their local Facebook group chapter on the back of the rock so that if you find a South Georgia rock in Australia, you can report back to that group so the person can see where their rock went. Recently a friend shared how her daughter's seashell (painted in Georgia) was found by a little girl at a beach in Florida, and is now headed to England!
7. You can celebrate landmark events
I loved seeing all the Eclipse rocks this week! You can also paint rocks to commemorate local or national events. As long as it's positive, it's game!
8. You can promote patriotism or team spirit
This goes along with point 7. Share school spirit, team spirit, American spirit, or anything that others will share your enthusiasm for!
9. Kindness trumps hate any day
The news is reporting on negative race/political relations everyday but this fun and kindness stuff really resonates with people. If you participate in this activity, you're probably not picking up rocks and thinking, "Gee, I wonder if the person who painted this is conservative or liberal, black or white, or part of a radical group?" You pick up the rocks and take in the design that was created and the nice message that was shared. You'll be thankful that someone else on this earth created something for others like you to enjoy!
10. It's therapeutic
I love the testimonies of people with handicaps who found a purposeful activity and that they can still make a difference too! I love that people have healed from depression and anxiety by having a means to do unto others. I love how painting is just relaxing, plain and simple.
11. It promotes unity
Thanks to this project, people are sharing their art, hobby, and motivation daily on social media within their community and reaching out to other communities around the country and world.
12. It's proof that the little things in life count!
If something so simple can bring together people from all walks of life throughout the country on every continent, what more can I say? The little things count.
Special thanks to the Rock Stars from the Valdosta Rocks Facebook page who contributed pictures for this post.