The Button Project: How One Button is Changing the World

Button Today is the last day of school and the first day of our summer adventure. Every year, I do a themed program with my girls and four of their friends. You can read about some of our past adventures here. This year, our summer adventure is called The Button Project, and we'd love to have you join us.

To understand The Button Project, I have to tell you a story -- a story about a button. Way back when I was a very green, 21-year-old copy editor, just a few months into my first job, I became friends with a new reporter we hired at the trade publication we worked at. This guy was (and is) an amazing writer. I learned a lot of what I know about writing from him. He was older than me and had seen and done some amazing things. And he was an incredible reporter, far too good for our little trade newspaper.

He was living in Kansas because his wife was going to school nearby. Not long after he came, though, his marriage fell apart. It was clearly a difficult time. Even in my 21-year-old, newlywed self-centeredness, I knew that it was horrible for him. One day, a button fell off his suit coat. When he went to lunch, I sewed it back on with a sewing kit I kept in my desk. I never thought anything about that moment again.

Fast-forward 15 years or so to the moment my first story published in a major book compilation arrived on my doorstep. As I was looking at the cover of the book, I realized that I would never have written the story in that book if my friend from so many years ago hadn't given me the best advice I ever received about writing: "If you have something to write about, write it." If not for those words, this blog wouldn't exist. I would never have written any of the Bible studies for our moms' group at my church or even the Everyday Christmas devotional. So, I sent him a Facebook message, thanking him.

The message I got back changed my outlook on life, and it led to The Button Project. He reminded me that all those years ago, I had sewed on that button for him. I truly don't remember that day. He said it was a moment of kindness in a horrible time that he had never forgotten. Fifteen years later, he told me, "It was one of the most touching and kind things anyone has ever done for me." He also said that he had shared that moment with a friend who was going through her own tough time. All this from a moment of kindness I didn't even remember.

You see, kindness changes things. It's one of the reasons that God tells us to be kind to each other. Kindness makes a difference in a dark day. It tells someone that they have value. Kindness counteracts the darkness in this world.

Which brings us to The Button Project. This summer, my girls and their friends are on an adventure to change the world one act of kindness at a time. When the girls meet around my table today, we'll be learning about someone who changed the world with kindness, and we'll be brainstorming ways that we can be kind to others. When they leave my house today, they'll take with them Button Project business cards to leave behind when they do a random act of kindness for someone. All summer long, they'll be doing random acts of kindness and leaving behind cards. When we meet together, we'll be learning about some people who changed the world with their kindness and doing some bigger acts of kindness together.

And this year, you can join us. You see, each card will take the recipient to The Button Project Facebook page, where they can leave us a comment about the act of kindness they received. You can go there, too. Like the page, let us know you're joining us and print off your own set of Button Project cards. By the end of the day, I'll have the lesson plan for the first week posted there, too.

Let The Button Project turn your summer into a summer of kindness as you teach your kids to live out the words of Ephesians 4:32: "Be kind and compassionate to one another..."