Sconestone Launches Round-the-World Kindness Movement

Warren MacLeod carved the "Sconestone" out of an African soapstone—and now he's sent it off on a global mission of kindness.

How would you feel if someone gave you a gift, then said that you could only keep it for a week?

If you’re anything like Warren MacLeod’s wife, Kari, you’d be very honored. Last Valentine’s Day, MacLeod carved and painted a large soapstone from Africa, and named it the Sconestone. He then presented it to his wife, telling her, “This is an odd gift. You’re going to have it for a short while, then we’re going to send it on, but it’s in your honor,” he told the Nova Scotia News.

So why the strange requirement? The Windsor, Nova Scotia man had decided that the Sconestone would serve as a symbol of kindness, and that it would inspire its possessor to do something nice for someone else before passing along the gift. The stone’s keepers are also encouraged to let friends and strangers touch the stone and commit to their own acts of generosity. What’s more, every act of kindness made in connection with the Sconestone will be recorded on a website reporting the gift’s journey,
It’s a kind of a pass-it-forward idea, but a little different in the sense that the obligation is a little more strong for someone to do something when there’s a lump of stone put in your hand and someone tells you the world’s watching,” said MacLeod.

The Sconestone is kicking off its international journey with a trip to Scotland, courtesy of the Scottish band Runrig, which is launching the first official “Sconestone ceremony” at one of their concerts. The band’s business manager also requested that the MacLeods create brochures and a video, and that they purchase 10,000 glow-in-the-dark wristbands to send the stone off in style.

The couple borrowed $10,000 to cover the promotional costs, but they may recoup the costs and then some through sponsorships—in which case, the money they make will pay for even more acts of kindness. is registered as a non-profit, and MacLeod would distribute excess funds to other charitable groups.

“If some guy starts a charity, or something like that, it would be great to push any money we get from sponsors on to them, if they’re building a school or whatever it might be.” 

As for the Sconestone itself, it seems to have a long and exciting journey ahead of it. Future keepers have “started to organize themselves; it’s looking like it will make three continents before the end of September,” said MacLeod’s friend, Lori Cox.

Who knows? It may even show up at your door one day.

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