My wife, Shortcake and I visited our local park the other evening to get in an evening constitutional. As we took turns pushing Shortcake’s stroller, my wife’s face suddenly lit as she saw a distinctive looking rock under a bush.
Grabbing it up, she showed off a painted black rock with white writing on it, seemingly decorated for Halloween. Grinning, she showed it to Shortcake and we resumed our constitutional. As we passed a tree, I noticed a festively painted blue rock sitting under a tree. I pointed it out to my wife, who picked it up and we examined the colorful flower decorations and the encouraging words on the front of the rock.
“It’s an odd coincidence that we’d find two decorated rocks here,” I said.
“No, it isn’t,” she told me. “It’s this new project. I’ve seen a lot of posts about it on Facebook lately. I’ve even joined a Facebook group that gives you hints on find rocks and lets you tease where you’ve hidden them.”
Because the light was getting dim and my wife forgot her cell phone, she decided to take the rocks home, photograph and share her find to the local group and then hide them again. As we headed to the car, a young man ran up to a tree nearby, finding a rock nestled in its crook.
“I found it,” he exclaimed to his mother and the two then made a bee-line for where we’d picked up the Halloween rock a few minutes before.
Suddenly, I was intrigued by this.
Turns out, this real-life scavenger hunt game, is the newest Internet craze. And while on the surface it seems like it’s a variation of Pokemon Go, there’s actually a lot more to it. It’s part of the Kindness Rocks Project and it’s a movement to bring a bit of encouragement and positivity into the world today.
The project started in 2015. Megan Murphy of Cape Cod, Mass says she had reached a turning point in her life following the death of her parents. As she walked the beach each day, she would look for certain shaped rocks (heart-shaped for her father, a piece of sea-glass for her mom) that would be an encouragement from her parents.
Then one day, she happened to take a Sharpie marker with her and while walking the beach, she drew on five rocks and placed them back on the beach. That evening, a friend texted her with a picture of one of the rocks and asked it Murphy had written on it and left it there. The friend said the rock encouraged her at a moment when she needed it. Murphy says that serves as an “a-ha” moment for her and the Kindness Rocks Project was born.
Two years later, the movement has its own website, local Facebook groups and has received coverage in newspapers, magazines and TV outlets across the country.
At its core, the Kindness Rocks Project is helping bring a message of hope. As the Kindness Rocks Project website says, “Now more than ever kindness can become a connecting force for good during uncertain times. Many people, including myself, are feeling a sense of overwhelm, unease and restlessness due to the current events taking place in our world today, and I believe that our united strength can be cultivated through simple random acts of kindness. Each of us can make a positive difference. Together we can make a positive IMPACT!”
All you have to do participate is join log-on to the Kindness Rocks Project website or Facebook page and either start looking for or creating your own rocks. The site includes details on the best way to create rocks. The website recommends using smooth stones that you can either collect in the wild or purchase at a home or craft store. Seal the rock with a non-toxic spray or paint and then use oil based Sharpie Paint pens to create your masterpiece or share a short, encouraging word. You can add the hashtag #TheKindnessProject to the back of the rock and then seal it with a clear coat of non-toxic sealer.
Then, with permission of the venue where you’re going to leave the rock, start leaving them in places where others can find and share them. And if you find one, share it on social media and then either put it back where you found it or take it home and create your own rock to replace the one you’ve found. You can even share where you’ve placed your Kindness Rock on the local Facebook groups or the Kindness Rock Project’s website.
And if you’re struggling with what to say, there are a ton of resources out there on Pinterest, Instagram or just by using our good friend, Google. Craft store Michael’s has partnered with the project to sponsor the Million Rock Challenge.
I know the joy, encouragement and fun that finding those two rocks has brought to our family. And we’ve decided that we want to create our own rocks and share them with the world.
Who knew that making the world a brighter place could start with something as simple as a rock?