I may sound like a broken record at this point, but children really do make amazing teachers.
Rachel Macy Stafford is an accomplished author and woman behind the website Hands Free Revolution. When she’s not inspiring thousands with her conferences, talks, and overall encouragement to parent intentionally, she’s noticing how her children are also bettering their little corners of the world.
Stafford shared just such an instance last week. In the midst of the chaos and turmoil our country faced, where hatred flowed out of the mouths and feet of a few and fatal violence found its way to the objectors, there were two little girls who exemplified just what we need. Unity. Compassion. Empathy.
Stafford’s daughter and her friend, pictured, are 10 and 11 years old. The pair met three years ago at a lemonade stand in their neighborhood and they’ve been close ever since. She goes on to describe just how “there for each other” these two really are: sharing everything from opinions on new glasses to high-fives over basketball games, and even deep hurts.
“I’ll never forget what my daughter said after her best friend was subjected to a racist comment on the school bus one afternoon.
‘I asked her if she was okay,’ my child said tearfully. ‘She didn’t say anything, so I just scooted closer.’ Reluctantly, she admitted, ‘I didn’t know what to do, Mama, so I just hurt with her.’
She didn’t know what to do, so she just hurt with her.
How many times have we watched injustice take place, or pain inflicted, or violence in our midst and wondered, what should I do? Is there anything I can do? It’s easy to feel small when you’re just one person.
What if we took a leaf out of these young girls’ books and just hurt with hurting people?
As Stafford takes in the wise words from her daughter, she muses, “What if we collectively remember, “I’ll hurt with you,” is something we can all do when we don’t know what to do? What if we collectively look into the eyes of our brothers and sisters to acknowledge their story and their pain rather than closing our eyes or looking away?”
Maybe what we do as adults is complicate things with all of our fear, or our tendency to overthink. These kids, who aren’t even teenagers yet and have no real world experience to draw from when it comes to hatred and racism, know to just be there for one another. They know that love and presence overcomes any wisdom.
We will continue to look to our youngest teachers for lessons in world-changing kindness.
Rachel is a wife and mother living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She’s a fan of good coffee, wearer of gray t-shirts, and is constantly starting books she will never finish. Her family is her joy, and she loves to engage with other moms and dads on matters of parenting. Her blog posts have also been featured on the Today Show Parenting Blog and Scary Mommy.