the evolution of ding dong ditchin’…

March 23, 2012

It started with one friend I happened to meet in front of my house one day…over the years he brought some more friends but in the last  few weeks every day someone brings someone new. I looked out in my back yard and before I knew it, there were about 20 kids, yep, 20.

And everyday I try to remember their names and we talk about school, and their families and every once in a while kindness. These kids play with my kids, and swing on the tree swing, ask me if they can have another clementine and tell me it’s okay my house is a mess when I apologize…and some days they just come to say hello and other days they stay…they are polite and kind, funny and some times a handful…and I am working my way through meeting their families, still so many to meet….and I love how our unintentional community rec center sort of unfolded together and the light they offer to me and my family.

It wasn’t long before I asked them if they wanted to go Ding Dong Ditchin’. They were totally in and yet still a little cautious. I thought back to the first time we went, and what a dark place I was in (even though you would never know in that old post). I was desperate to know kindness could change things for me, even if my world was falling apart…it was if I knew, somewhere deep, I had kindness… it would hold my hope for me when I was doubting and scared…or maybe it was just so dang fun, I just forgot all about my troubles.

Over the years as things got better, it just represented sheer joy and a thrill…and it turned into our signature act of kindness, which I so love. Even today, I’ll hear my friends talking or say, “Oh yeah, I got ding dong ditched….!!” and it always makes me smile, knowing how far kindness has traveled, and how we turned a prank into verbage of goodness.

…and I love how nervous I get just thinking about it, how my heart pounds, how hard we laugh, how we check to see if they got it…and how the rows of houses, apartments and places goes on and on…there will always be a need for anonymous kindness…

how it checks our perceptions and preconceived ideas about the world and each other, how it invites us to believe kindness is alive and stirs part of us to pass it on. I never, ever would have guessed what would come from one day of desperation and flowers and being with a gaggle of kids…but I am so, so grateful. It feels like I always return to the message my niece Madeleine wrote on the first card we ding dong ditched…Hope is never too far away.

11 Responses to “the evolution of ding dong ditchin’…”

  1. Cindy Tyra Says:

    What a beautiful post! I’m going to start ding dong ditching this summer. I don’t have any little ones to ding dong with, but I can be fun and kind all by myself!

  2. pathwriter Says:

    Yes, kindness is traveling. I started with the garbage gratitude day…made cookies for my guys (and the recycling guys, too). It got me thinking of other people I could thank this way, so last week I took cookies to the staff at the Westover Hills Library branch. I think the firehouse is my next stop. 🙂

    Thanks for inspiring so many people that you haven’t even met….

  3. pathwriter Says:

    I came across this piece by Clarissa Pinkola Estes tonight, and it made me think of you. I posted the excerpt below on my blog. The link to the entire piece is at the bottom.

    Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts, or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take “everyone on Earth” to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

    One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both, are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

    [To read the entire piece:

  4. Bessie Says:

    I like that mentality that hope is never far away…

  5. Leah Says:

    My family was ding dong ditched today with a note to check out our your blog as well. What a super sweet idea that made us feel so special. We are new in our neighborhood and it really helped to feel a part of something. Thanks for your wonderful ideas

  6. You inspire me! I was at the store on Saturdy in the midst of a heavy rain. There was bin of daffodils and I decided I would buy a bunch and find someone to give them to as a surprise. It turned out that the person behind me in line was visiting from another state and staying in an RV. I paid for the flowers and then offered them to him saying, “here is a little reminder of spring for your table.” I felt awesome!!!
    Thank you for reminding us that kindess is beautiful!
    From the heart,

  7. Susan Says:

    We love this idea so much we included you – and the idea – in our latest article! Ways to turn your child’s charitable instincts into action:

  8. […] never too late to participate!  {To check out the original blog post, go here: The evolution of ding dong ditchin’… }  And while you are there, take some time to read some of the other posts…this gal has […]

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