In a world where racism and discrimination continue to tear down lives and societies, a little girl named Avery modeled a perfect example for us all.
Rachel Macy Stafford, an author and a mom who blogs at "Hands Free Mama," shared a blog post last year about her daughter, Avery and her best friend, Laila.
Avery is caucasian, and Laila is a dark-skinned African American, but race never stood in the way of their friendship. One day, while on the school bus, that status quo was tested.
“When my daughter came off the school bus that hot September afternoon, it was obvious something was horribly wrong,” Rachel narrated. “With a weary heart, I suspected it was homesickness due to our recent move.”
“The goal of this little team is to love … to love each other as they want to be loved.”
She later revealed that the cause of Avery’s bad mood was a boy throwing a racial insult at Laila on the bus: “I hate black people.”
Rachel then asked her daughter what she did, and Avery’s response got her mom doing a double-take:
“I asked L if she was okay. She didn’t say anything, so I just scooted closer. I didn’t know what to do, Mama, so I just hurt with her.”
“It took me a moment to recover from that,” Rachel confessed.
After detailing Avery and Laila’s friendship that involved looking out for each other, making sacrifices, telling each other the absolute truth, and loving each other unconditionally, Rachel added something for us all to think about:
“What if we collectively responded to the injustices of our brothers and sisters with empathy rather than defensiveness or indifference?
What if we collectively looked into our brother and sisters eyes to acknowledge their pain rather than closing our eyes or looking away?
What if we collectively understood our privileges and blessings would be far greater if shared by our sisters and brothers?
What if we collectively agreed it is not “your back” or “my back,” but “our back,” if we are to create a unified and peaceful world for future generations?
What if we collectively remember, “I’ll hurt with you,” is something we can all do when we don’t know what to do?”
“The goal of this little team is to love … to love each other as they want to be loved,” Rachel continued, referring to a picture of the girls sitting side-by-side on a football field. “The goal of this team is to have ‘our back’ – not ‘your back’ or ‘my back’ – for they know they are stronger together than they are alone.”
Rachel’s post quickly went viral and sparked a flood of positive comments rooting for unity and tolerance. Some social media users also sent in photos of themselves with their own best friends.
If all of us can learn to hurt with the other person, the world is sure to be a better place.