Baby boomers, are you tired of all the bad news lately? Seems like every time I turn on the TV there is another mass shooting. Then there’s the upcoming election news with all the nasty insults flying and disheartening debates.
We baby boomers are at a stage in our life when we want to give back and make a difference in our later years. Looking for the perfect uplifting anecdote? I read about a fun trend that is SkyROCKeting (hint,hint) across the country.
I found out about this motivational movement in an article about Hannah Barnes. She is 19 years old, lives in Texas, and is battling stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She endured six rounds of chemotherapy.
Barnes and her cousin were on vacation in Houston and heard about a rock painting trend. People were hand painting stones with inspirational messages and hiding them in public places. Those lucky enough to find the painted rocks either relocated them or made their own to replace it.
They decided to start the tradition in their own community with a “Wilbarger County Rocks” Facebook page. Members post pictures of rocks they’ve found or plan to hide for others to locate.
The two young women claim that the creative act of painting a rock with an inspirational message and hiding it for someone else to find is downright therapeutic. The process took their mind off of negative things as they envisioned the looks of delight as their rocks were discovered.
The good news is that Barnes recently found out she is cancer free.
This idea is marvelously simple and some of the stories behind the movement are touching. The goal is to brighten someone’s day and spread a little happiness, love, and inspiration. Those that participate say the small gesture can make a huge difference in someone’s life.
Think of a less dangerous and more artistic version of Pokémon Go. Or a less complicated type of geocaching. The trend connects people and encourages them to explore their communities without a Smartphone. More like a treasure hunt.
A similar Facebook group was created by Cathy Tomko and Connie Quatermass in Kitsap County, Washington. Quatermass tells the story of how a man with cancer was on his way to a cardiologist appointment when he found a rock painted with a heart. The man was on his way to get his heart checked before beginning treatment. He received good news about his heart and says he’ll be carrying the rock in his pocket during his treatments.
Ironically, it seems the rock painting trend began with a tragedy in Oregon. Susan Dieter-Robinson and Tom Robinson got married and their daughters, Anna Dieter-Eckerdt and Abigail Robinson, glued fabric in the shapes of hearts to rocks as decorations for the wedding. Tragically, the two girls were later killed in a hit-and-run crash. Their parents began painting and distributing similar rocks to honor the girls’ memory. In 2014, they launched the Love Rocks Facebook page.
So began a tradition that began spreading to other communities across the country.
Of course, many of these groups have some simple rules. That includes keeping artwork and comments positive and G-rated so children can participate and being respectful of private property, national and state parks, cemeteries, and businesses.
If you want to give this trend a try, you can use acrylic paint found in craft stores or Sharpies. Spray your rocks with a clear gloss spray paint to protect paint from the weather. Community rock groups are easily set up on Facebook if you’re so inclined.
Messages can be short and simple: Don’t give up. You’re Amazing. Unleash Your Silly. You Are Brave. Live Your Dreams. Take a Moment and Breathe. Create. You Rock. Imagine. Forgive. Thrive. Stop and Smile. Pray. Dance in the Rain. Nurture Hope. Stay Curious. Believe. Be Fearless. Find Joy. Give Freely. Live in the Moment. Laugh Loudly. You Are Enough. Be Blissful. Seek Adventure. Take the Next Step. Let it Go. Relax. Try Something New. You’ve Got This. Have a Grateful Heart. Give Someone a Hug. Take a Chance.
If painting rocks isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other simple ways to brighten someone’s day.
Write down positive quotes and place them in library books for someone to find. Leave a workmate a compliment on a sticky note. Write a love note on the shower door for your spouse to discover. Etch a positive message in the sand. Put a love note in a lunch box for your child to read at school.
All you baby boomers out there, I’m sure you can come up with some ideas of your own. Just brighten up someone’s day!
Images, in order of appearance, courtesy of suphakit73, BJWOK, and David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.