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Challenge: Unlikely Friends

My son is teaching me to unlearn sameness

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Love everyone.

If I’m honest, it’s not something I modeled well to my son in his first years of life.

You see, I was guilty of befriending sameness:

Moms who looked like me.
Kids who looked like mine.

What I didn’t realize then was that I was giving my son a pretty clear message: Stay comfortable.

But that isn’t the real world...or public school.

So, my approach is different now: Be a friend to the world.

A few weeks ago, McDonald’s offered my first test. A little boy - a year or two older than my son - ran up to him with a big smile and started playing. My son introduced him to me in that sweet five-year-old way: “We ride the bus together!”

After we left the restaurant, my son pleaded with me to coordinate a play date - almost as if to say: “Mom, you know how these things work.” Only, honestly, I didn’t in that moment.

As it turns out, sameness steals something significant from us: The creativity involved in forging relationships.

So, last week, I did something bold: I made his friend’s mother a card and asked him to deliver it on the bus after school.

To my great surprise, the mother texted me the next day. And, tonight, we met for popsicles at the park.

Whether you’re a new or seasoned mother, I think we all need to be reminded of something bigger than play dates and passed notes: The kids are watching...and, in their own way, they’re praying we’ll do the right thing.

But the most beautiful piece of the story is this: Just two days after I wrote that card, my son was bullied. A child intervened on his behalf.

For an entire bus ride, the boy from McDonald’s protected my son from the bully...because his stop is the one just before ours.

And the ancient African proverb has never been more true: “If you want to go far, go together.”

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