We Are Not Unique
The Kindness Bucket Brigade has certainly taken on a bit of a viral "vibe" since it has grown so quickly in such a short amount of time. We currently have over 5400 members in just over one month. We have been featured on 5 different TV stations and in many Wisconsin publications.
What is interesting is, we are not unique. There are many other pages and groups similar. I even had a lovely Facebook Messenger conversation with a woman in Australia working on bringing a kindness curriculum into the schools. I have "liked" many other Kindness pages and have now joined a couple other kindness groups that are similar to the Kindness Bucket Brigade.
Our group recently came under fire on a Facebook post questioning why the rules are the way they are. We are a closed group. We did this to protect member's privacy. The problem I ran into when it was a public group was people spamming the group, not following rules and trying to promote products, etc. It became too much to keep up with so the decision was made to close the group. What we also found was people were posting personal situations and asking for positive thoughts and prayers and it became abundantly clear we needed to protect the members and make sure they would not be judged, criticized, or bullied from outside the group.
We had also decided it would be important for members to make sure they did not have any of the admin or moderators blocked. We post updates, new rules, updated rules, contests, and more and felt it was important for all members to see these. There are 4 of use that watch over the group, but we cannot be on 24/7 so if one or more of us are blocked, whoever is blocked won't be able to see posts if they violate the rules. When you block someone on social media - they cannot see you and you cannot see them. This seems to be a general rule amongst most closed groups.
A much larger group I have joined that has over 156,000 members has much stricter rules. They don't allow sharing outside of the group and are very strict about privacy. Their rules are very specific and very lengthy, but well put and to the point. I respect that they have put their own boundaries on the closed group they have created. So while our group doesn't have those numbers of members yet, we haven't had to enforce stricter rules...yet.
Why a group and not a page? A group creates that "community" feel to it. On a Facebook "page" there are limits such as only the administrators can post. Anything that is posted by followers is not easily seen as those posts show up other than the main page. This means followers really only see what the admins post and can then only leave comments. I wanted this to be more of a give and take - a community - where everyone can share and comment. The functionality of a group is much broader than that of a page. We aren't looking for "likes" - we want members who WANT to be there.
The next issue is the Toot Toot Tuesdays. This is a day when you can post on that particular thread about good deeds or kindnesses you have done or witnessed. While I completely understand the perspective of "that's just bragging" or that you're doing the kindness for "the wrong reason" - I also view it as a way to share what kindness is actually out there in the world. We all talk about how there is so much bad or negative stuff all over the news and social media. We rarely get to see the "good" and the random acts of kindness. Why? Well, because we aren't allowed to talk about them without being judged for bragging. Since we have a closed group, I wanted people to have the opportunity to not only share their good deeds but also see other people's good deeds. This gives us all a sense of hope that the world isn't all bad. There are so many posts showing kindness that it's heartwarming to know that these things have been happening the whole time, but we just weren't aware of it. Most of the people sharing their random acts of kindness were doing them long before this group started. For me, it gives ME ideas of things I can do out in the community to be kind. I feel the older generations have an obligation to teach the younger generations HOW to be kind and that kindness can be free. If we were still a public group, I don't think people would share as much for fear of being bullied for "showing off" or not doing the kindness just for the sake of being kind.
I would then challenge you to ask yourself this: If you were on your last dollar and needed to buy food for your family and the person behind you in line decided to help by giving you $20. Would you really care what their "true intentions" were? Would you be upset if they posted their kindness in our group, possibly for attention? Or would you be grateful someone did that kindness for you? Perhaps you would question that person's motives before you took the $20?
I think we need to focus on the good and let people be kind in their own way. It feels good for both the giver and the receiver. For this reason, we will continue the Toot Toot Tuesdays because it warms my heart to see the long list of kindnesses that are happening all around me that I wouldn't have known about or seen otherwise :)
The other issue seems to be that once you create a group that blossoms the way it has, people feel it is now public property of some sort. As though EVERYONE has a say in how it should be run, what rules should be implemented and what you are allowed to do with it. Again, I have found many pages and groups surrounding the same topic of Kindness. None of us "own" the word or the gesture. We all have started something that resonated with us surrounding kindness. For our group - it is the simple idea of the Kindness Bucket Brigade - a system to help people stand up for others who are being bullied and knowing they will have backup. Stepping out to defend someone can be scary, even when it's the right thing. But when you create a group / a community / a family of kindness warriors, it becomes easier to step up and do what is right. This was my vision and still is. The group has grown and become so much more than that, but the initial idea was to help stop online bullying. Other groups have also had their own reasons and visions surrounding kindness.
For those of you who have no idea who I am - I am Wendy Babcock, a motivational speaker and author. My main topic is A Complaint Free World in which I speak to schools, clubs, businesses, corporations, associations, etc. I teach what complaining is, why it is damaging to our health, relationships, career, and overall health. I show audiences the 5 reasons why we complain using the acronym, GRIPE. I also provice easy tools and strategies to implement effective communication to not only help yourself stop complaining, but also help those around you stop complaining. This is what I do for a living. It is my joy, my passion. Since creating the Kindness Bucket Brigade, I have had schools, businesses, and private citizens reach asking me to come speak at their next event. I have been busy creating an educational, entertaining and interactive presentation to bring to those who want to help stop online bullying and bring more kindness to the world. While the group has reached over 5000 people - I know going out and speakig about it will reach even more people (adults and children) and hopefully make a difference. If I can help prevent even one person being bullied or stop one person from becoming a bully - it's totally worth it!
I realize there can be criticism around speakers making money for what they do. I have bills and a mortgage just like you. I have to put food on my table and feed my animals. It would be much easier and I would work a lot less hours if I got another 40 hour a week job. It would likely pay better, be less stressful, and I would work about 20 hours less a week than I do now. BUT, as much work as it is - I LOVE IT. There is no better feeling for me than to give a presentation and have someone from the audience approach me afterwards and say they really "heard" me and it changed their life and how they can't wait to make the changes necessary to be a better person. I never got that from working my 9-5 jobs. So while I speak about A Complaint Free World now, I will be and have already been booked to speak about the Kindness Bucket Brigade. I look forward to bringing kindness wherever I go!
If The Kindness Bucket Brigade isn't your cup of tea - no problem. There are tons of other kindness groups and pages you can join and follow. I'll be happy to point you in their direction if you'd like. We are proceeding day to day and feeling our way as we go. This whole movement wasn't planned and certainly not expected. I'm grateful for what it has done and I'm looking forward to all the amazing things I think it's going to bring!