Kindness Rocks

In the aftermath of the Orlando massacre — and at a time when political discourse seems impossibly polarized — it’s nice to hear about a few elementary school students who believe “kindness rocks.”


Visitors to Compo Beach recently noticed a pile of colorful rocks. Looking closely, they see that each bears a message: “Happiness.” “Love.” “Hope.” “Be yourself.”

Kindness Rocks 1

A sign near the rocks urges anyone to take home a rock that they like — and perhaps create one of their own, to leave it for others to find.

“Take one, leave one, give one!” the sign says. “Kindness is contagious!”

The “Kindness Rocks Project” is the brainchild of Greens Farms Elementary School teachers Karen Frawley and Michelle DeCarlo. They run a group called Long Neck Leaders — 3rd, 4th and 5th graders who get to school early twice a month, and come up with ideas to make a difference. Last year, they created a schoolwide “Patches Plunge” and raised $6,000 for the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

Karen heard about the Kindness Project — meant to promote “random acts of kindness and inspiration to unsuspecting recipients” — and pitched it to the kids. They loved it.

Long Neck Leaders (from left) Michelle DeCarlo, 4th grader Arthur Skatoff and Karen Frawley.

Long Neck Leaders (from left) Michelle DeCarlo, 4th grader Arthur Skatoff and Karen Frawley.

Sure, it’s a little thing.

But isn’t it nice to read this, rather than another story about another mass murder?

And wouldn’t it be nice if we followed these elementary school students’ lead?

(Hat tip: Suzanne Sherman Propp)






43 responses to “Kindness Rocks

  1. Jamie Camche

    Love This 💙💚💜 !!!!!

  2. Wilhelmina de Haas

    Very touching and beautiful.

  3. Alexis Senoski

    What an uplifting story after so much bad news.

  4. Mary (Cookman) Schmerker Staples 1958

    Amen to the comments above. This is what we really need right now, kindness, understanding and unity. This is what our children need to hear, not the tone that they hear in the nightly news.

  5. Elizabeth Thibault

    Some people might not think this is much beyond a “feel good” project, but it can something that goes a little deeper. Teaching children to take their time to consider other people, their feelings, and the myriad situations that others might be facing in their lives is always worthwhile. These children grow up to be adults who probably won’t mindlessly put people into an “us” or “them” bucket, and will treat others with respect, dignity, and kindness. The events of this weekend shows that encouraging this mindset in our children is needed more than ever.

    • Nancy Hunter Wilson

      Excellent words, Elizabeth. I believe ALL generations need to re-address their mindsets.

  6. I love this. Those teachers should be commended and I hope this catches on to other schools. Great job.

  7. Dan– I am disgusted by the news of yet another act of gun violence in our country effectuated with semi-automatic weapons. The added horror of it also being a hate crime targeting gay Americans makes it even more troubling. This project is a wonderful reminder of the goodness of most Westporters and the importance of teaching tolerance and empathy. ~ Kristan Hamlin

    • Jeff Arciola

      Let’s call it what it is radical Islamic terrorist. Also known as jihad. These people want to kill us and we are afraid to hurt there feelings.Wake up America

      • I am a long way away at moment Jeff, but I just gave you a rousing standing O. It’s long past the time when we should be calling this what it is: Muslim violence, not ” gun violence”
        Westport a different town when I lived there. Populated by different people than apparently populate it now.
        I consider myself fortunate indeed to have come of age in Westport when I did.

      • Dave Stalling

        Jeff: Radical Islamic terrorism is not known as Jihad. The word Jihad is often misunderstood and misused. Jihad is an Islamic term referring to the religious duty of Muslims to maintain the religion. Most Muslims of Islamic faith define it as “duty toward God,” a “divine duty,” or a “worship of God,” with no violent or militaristic connotations.

        There is a small minority of Muslims (about 7 percent) who justify hatred and violence through their faith, just as there are a small minority of Christians and people of other religions who justify hatred and violence
        through their faith.

        I learned a lot this firsthand while serving in a Marine Corps Force Recon unit during the Reagan years, when I trained with and helped train some Muslims of Islamic faith who risked and lost their lives for the United States. I also met brave, honorable Muslims of Islamic faith who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army and U.S. Navy. There are many highly-decorated Muslims of Islamic faith buried in Arlington National Cemetery and other veteran cemeteries around the nation who died for our nation. Today, there are a lot of Muslims of Islamic faith risking their lives and dying while fighting ISIS and other radical groups.

        • There are 1.6 billion Muslims. If 7 percent “justify hatred and violence through their faith”, it would follow that there are over 110,000,000 who justify hatred and violence through their faith. If we admit 200,000 Muslims into the US, approximately 14,000 of them would justify hatred and violence through their faith. I realize it is unfair to characterize all Muslims as justifying hatred and violence through their faith, but I am not comforted by the numbers.

          During WW II about 10% of Germans were Nazis. We still carpet bombed their cities. On the other hand there were many Americans of German ancestry who served their nation well during the same conflict. (Eisenhower among them).

          I agree it is important to put the threat in context as you have attempted to do. At this point perhaps we should ask the question, how does the world protect itself from the 110,000,000 Muslims who justify hatred and violence through their faith?

          The definition of ‘jihad” appears to be very broad.

          Full Definition of jihad
          : a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty; also : a personal struggle in devotion to Islam especially involving spiritual discipline
          : a crusade for a principle or belief

          • Dave Stalling

            You are wrongly assuming that seven percent of Muslim refugees allowed into the United States would be terrorists. They’re not. Not even close. You are not comforted by the numbers because you are basing your thoughts on the wrong numbers. Maybe this will help comfort you:

            Although the current vetting process could always be reviewed and improved, it pretty rigid, thorough and effective and has an almost flawless record of keeping terrorists our. It takes up to two years. The step for refugee’s is to be reviewed with the U.N. High Commission for Refugees. The UNHCR refers people to countries based on whether they have any family members there and where resettlement makes the most sense. If it’s the U.S., then refugees are vetted by the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, and the Departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security. Fingerprints are taken, biographical information is collected and each individual is interviewed by U.S. officials trained to verify that they’re bona fide refugees.

            Islamic refugees fare then subject to additional screening that looks at where they came from and what caused them to flee their home, stories that are checked out. All of this occurs before a refugee is allowed to set foot in our country.

            It works.

            The United States has resettled 784,000 Muslim refugees since September 11, 2001. Since then, exactly three resettled refugees have been arrested for planning terrorist activities. Two of those three were not planning an attack in the United States, and the plans of the third were “barely credible,” according to the FBI. Two of the men were indicted and jailed for plotting to send weapons to terrorist organizations in Iraq. One was convicted of terrorism-related charges for possessing explosives and supporting a terrorist organization in Uzbekistan.

            None of those 784,000 Islamic refuges carried out any domestic terrorists attacks in the United States. Zero. None.

            The “Boston Marathon bombers” Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarenev were admitted to the United States when they were awarded political asylum. That was obviously a huge mistake. They were not put through the vetting process that refugees are put through, and obviously they should have been.

            Concern is justified; irrational actions based on fear is not. Muslim refugees pose no more danger than refugees than refugees from other nations. In fact, there has been more violence carried out by German and Irish refugees than Muslim refugees. Shall we ban all Germans and Irish people from our nation?

            Note: This information comes from research reports, records and statistics from the United States National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, and the Departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security. I realize many Republican leaders, talk show hosts and Donald Trump have very different statistics that are pretty frightening. They don’t let facts get in the way of their statements — fearmongering brings in the votes and is so much simpler to convey than truth.

    • Jamie Walsh

      How about addressing your disgust for the radical Islamic ideology that spews hate? You seemed to have missed that all together.

      • Nancy Hunter Wilson

        Examining the motivation(s) and side-stepping the means will not solve anything.

        • The “means”??? Be serious. Jamie nailed it and I both applaud and agree wit the assessment.

          Let’s save the group hug and chorus of kumbaya until after we put these crazies in the ground.

          Winston Churchill said it first and said it best in River Speech 1898: ‘Islam in man is like rabies in a dog’

          • Nancy Hunter Wilson

            You really need to read not only a few History books but a lot of Religious Studies works. Then think before you jump to conclusions.

          • Dave Stalling

            Bruce: That Winston Churchill quote has been circulating on the Internet since May 2013, when Missouri State Representative Rick Stream sent an e-mail to his colleagues warning about the dangers of Islam.

            What Churchill actually said was, “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog,” later repeated in his 1899 book “The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan.”

            However, later in his life he became such a strong admirer of Islam that relatives feared he might convert. His fascination with Muslims led him and his close friend Wilfrid S. Blunt, the poet and radical supporter of Muslim causes, to dress in Arab clothes in private while in each other’s company. By 1904 he opposed punitive expeditions against Islamic tribes in northern Nigeria. According to the book “Winston Churchill and the Islamic World: Orientalism, Empire and Diplomacy in the Middle East,” by British Historian Warren Dockter, “Churchill regarded Islam and Christianity as equals – a surprisingly progressive notion for the time – but he also admired the military prowess and history of expansion of the Ottoman Empire.” By 1940, Churchill approved plans to build the London Central Mosque in London.

            Why such a change in views? He attributed it to the time he spent around Muslims and learning truth vs fiction, and finding that only a small minority of Muslims were extremists and promoted and carried out violence.

            The same holds true today. Only 7 percent of all Muslims in the world support and promote violence.

            I can relate to Churchill’s change in views. I went through a similar change in views about Muslims when I was a Force Recon Marine, after serving with some, and helping train some, who risked their lives and died fighting against radicalized Islamists while helping the United States.

            Perhaps you should participate in group hugs and a chorus of kumbaya with some Muslims; you might learn that most are good, peaceful people. If do admire your resolve to put the “crazies in the ground,” and hope you found, or will find, a way to walk the talk, get overseas and engage in the battle.

            Semper Fi!

            • I’ve fought my war son, you insinuating you did as well? Which one was that? but thanks for unsolicited history lesson. Churchill’s remarks condensed so even lefty’s can understand them.
              “RANGERS LEAD THE WAY”

              • Dave Stalling

                You’re welcome, dad. It seems you needed the history lesson, since you wrongly quoted Churchill and insinuated he hated Muslims. Glad I could enlighten you. I graduated from Army Ranger School and worked with Rangers throughout my time in Force Recon while attached to the Joint Special Operations Command. Easiest training I’ve ever been through, but a good warmup before encouraging Rangers to follow us. Here’s a General Douglas MacArthur quote, condensed so even a Righty can understand: “I have just returned from visiting the Marines at the front,
                and there is not a finer fighting organization in the world.” Semper Fi.

  8. Bruce J. Kent

    Wake up! Group hugs, kindness and tolerance will get you nowhere with these animals.

    If you are unwilling to defend even your own lives, then you are like mice trying to negotiate with owls. You regard their ways as ‘wrong’, they regard you as dinner.

    • We are NOT mice and they are NOT owls. We are human beings capable of all emotions, with dignities, debacles and free will: both good and evil. Despite that, we still must find peace and mercy in one’s own heart or we are no better than they whom you refer to as ‘animals’ (though I think they’re much worse). We must always strive to take the Higher Ground to the Greater Good…so Bravo to “Kindness Rocks,” because it does!

    • On the issue of tolerance and empathy for people with different sexual preferences, I thought Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator of the play “Hamilton”, put it beautifully last night:

    • Dorrie Barlow Thomas

      I think the point is not to get to “these animals” (yes, they are probably far too lost to save) but to do something/anything/everything to try to get to the youngest of humans, in order to keep them from getting lost!

    • Werner liepolt

      Kids need a way to cope with what our increasingly warped world is delivering. Can you not credit and acknowledge the kindness and love in these teachers ‘ and kids’ response?

      • Nicole Klein

        Beautifully said Werner, and I 2nd your sentiments. This has ONLY been an uplifiting post about what our children (as a result of our awesome teachers lead) are doing in our community and if we decide that it is OK to NOT let kindness and love be the prevailing act towards each other no matter how small, at this young age, then, whoever said, “group hugs will get you nowhere” actually needs…a BIG ‘OLE HUG themselves!!! 💖

  9. Stan Parizo, Jr.

    Excellent story! Thank you Mrs. DeCarlo and the children who made this possible! Job well done!!!


    Thank you!

  11. Lovely. Let us rest our hearts a bit with these children and their natural instincts to be kind to one another. They’re not trying to solve all of the issues associated with this horror show — they’re just giving us a much needed respite from this 24/7 coverage.

  12. Nicole Klein

    An absolute beautiful and much needed posting amid such an incomprehensible and unfathomable act. Thank you Karen Frawley, Michelle DeCarlo and Suzanne Sherman Propp (and of course Dan!!) for spreading the ❤️💛💚💙💜 to one and all.

  13. Dave Stalling

    What these kids are doing is fantastic; we need more of this in the world.

    What we need less of in this world is the ignorance expressed by some people about Muslims and the Islamic faith. You’d think we would have learned something from the Joseph McCarthy witch hunts, but sadly McCarthyism is alive and well in the United States — this time directed towards Muslims.

    Such folks rarely let facts get in the way of what they choose to believe, but nevertheless, here’s a dose of truth:

    Polls conducted by Pew have found Muslim-Americans of Islamic faith report less violent views than any other religious group in America. In one recent poll, 89% of Muslim-Americans claimed that the killing of civilians is never justified, compared to 71% of Catholics and Protestants, 75% of Jews, and 76% of atheists and non-religious groups. The Pew Research Center’s 2013 poll showed that the majority of 14,244 Muslim, Christian and other respondents in 14 countries with substantial Muslim populations are concerned about Islamic extremism and hold negative views on known terrorist groups. In research conducted on Muslims around the world, 92 percent were opposed to violence and 7 percent were considered “Politically Radicalized.”

    Overwhelmingly, those who have committed terrorist attacks in the United States and Europe aren’t Muslims. In Europe, less than 2 percent of the terrorist attacks committed in the past 5 years was carried out by Muslims of Islamic faith. According to Europol, the European Union’s law-enforcement agency, the vast majority of terror attacks in Europe were perpetrated by separatist groups.

    An FBI study looking at terrorism committed on U.S. soil between 1980 and 2015 found that 94 percent of the terror attacks were committed by non-Muslims. In actuality, 42 percent of terror attacks were carried out by Latino-related groups, followed by 24 percent perpetrated by extreme left-wing groups.

    A 2014 study by University of North Carolina found, since the 9/11 attacks, that Muslim-linked terrorism has claimed the lives of 37 Americans up to that time. In that same time period, more than 190,000 Americans were murdered by non-Muslims.

    While I was serving in a Marine Corps Force Recon unit during the Reagan years, I trained with and helped train some Muslims of Islamic faith who risked and lost their lives for the United States. I also met brave, honorable Muslims of Islamic faith who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army and U.S. Navy. There are many highly-decorated Muslims of Islamic faith buried in Arlington National Cemetery and other veteran cemeteries around the nation who died for our nation. Today, there are a lot of Muslims of Islamic faith risking their lives and dying while fighting ISIS and other radical groups.

    • Thank you, Dave, for your voice of reason. I’m a bit stunned that a few comments on this “kindness” story are so unkind.

  14. Terry Santella Anzalone

    What a great project! The children need to have feel good things in their lives and so do we the oldies!

  15. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    To all children: Tuum Est!

  16. Oh my Gosh! This started out as a feature about a few youngsters guided by a couple of thoughtful teachers reaching out to show “kindness” — Enough mud-slinging…listen to the children.