Washington church shares “kindness rocks” around community

Published 7:09 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A woman walking to grab a morning cup of Joe before work; a teenager riding his bike to school; a man on an evening jog along the Washington waterfront — these three people may never meet in person, they may never cross paths at all, but they may all find themselves stumbling across a colorful painted rock, hidden somewhere in the community.

“Kindness Rocks” is a nationwide trend that is rolling its way into Beaufort County, thanks to organizations such as the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Washington.

Gillian Pollock, director of discipleship at First Christian Church, debuted the “Kindness Rocks Project” to her youth group on Sunday night. Pollock and a group of sixth- to 12th-grade students spent the evening painting small rocks, each with a word of inspiration on them — love, hope, joy, grace and more — and leaving them for others to find.

“They were banging them out, arguing who got the last one. Some of them even didn’t want to leave when the hour and a half was up,” Pollock said. “I guess we’re going to be doing these rocks for a while.”

The idea is that once a rock is found, it should be passed forward — whether the finder gives it to a friend or relocates it — and bring as many people kindness as possible.

The project rose to widespread fame when one woman in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, started painting rocks and leaving them on the beach for others to find as a sign of positivity. One rock led to another, and before long, it blossomed into nationwide kindness movement. And when Pollock introduced it to her church, the idea took off like wildfire.

She said it was supposed to be a one-time thing, an activity to welcome back the children of her youth group on Sunday night. She was expecting the children to “humor her” — paint the rocks, but grow bored quickly. But, much to her surprise, the children locked onto the project, and now she said she is preparing to involve the entire congregation.

“We will have services on Sunday with rocks available, inviting people to take them and pay it forward and keep it going,” Pollock said. “I can’t wait to see how many rocks are gone.”

The project teaches children they can make a difference, according to Pollock. She said in a world scattered with negativity, this project could shine a much-needed light of the power that kindness can have in a community.

It’s really just that simple: a bag of rocks, a box of paint, a few kind words and the heart of people who want to make an impact.

Even just a couple of days later, Pollock said she has seen the impact firsthand.

“We even had a lady come looking for assistance and she sat there over the table, looking at the table [of rocks] for almost 25 minutes. She hugged me and said, ‘I needed that today, and I’m going to pay it forward,’” she explained. “This is what this is about.”

Pollock said the project shows that kindness can be a driving force for good in the community, and it’s something everybody can take part in.

“It’s easy for everyone, it’s not something that requires money or even skill. It just really is the heart and mindset for doing something for someone else and truly not getting anything in return,” Pollock said.

Pollock is happy to be spreading kindness around the county, and even though it surprised her, she said she’s excited the children took such a liking to the project. She said she loves watching them be so quick and willing to make an impact positively.

“We are so quick to throw a rock at someone else. It’s joyful to be able to instill love in the rocks as people find them. I love the idea that they’re leaving a rock for someone else, not throwing it at them,” Pollock said.

Now, Pollock said she is patiently looking around the community to hopefully find a “Kindness Rock” of her own.