A young boy in middle school came home one day and excitedly told his mother that he had met a new friend. He said that his new friend was really smart and that the two of them were going to work on a project for the science fair together. He said that it was going to be a project about a cow’s heart. The mom was excited for her son because of his new friend and because of his enthusiasm about the science fair.
A couple of days later, the young boy asked if his new friend could come over to play after school the next day. The mom said that it would be fine and told him to ask the boy’s mother to call so that they could work out the details. That evening the two mothers spoke and exchanged addresses, bus numbers and the like and it was all arranged. The new friend would ride home on the bus with her son and his mother would come at 5:50 PM to pick up her son to take him home.
The next day, the two boys got off the bus and ran into the kitchen hungry for a snack. The young boy introduced his new friend to his mom and they began to devour their milk and cookies before heading outside to play. The time few by and the mom was thrilled that the boys got along so well because that wasn’t always the case with new friends who came to visit. When it began to get dark, the mom called the boys inside and suggested that they talk about their science project.
Sometime later the doorbell rang and the visiting boy’s mother could be seen through the window. The mom invited her inside and the two mothers discussed the events of the day and their happiness about the new friendship that was developing. The mothers had a lot in common and looked forward to the possibility of their own growing friendship.
The mother and son left after the young boy thanked his new friend’s mother for the milk and cookies and for inviting him. All were happy and waved goodbye.
The young boy who had invited his new friend to play went upstairs to work on his homework before dinner. The mom felt good about the afternoon and happily prepared the family’s dinner.
Sometime later, the young boy came running down the stairs shouting, “Mom! Mom!” “What is it?” the mom asked. Her son said, “I forgot to tell you that he was black.” The mother gave her son a hug and said, “I did notice that.” Her son said, “But I forgot to tell you that when I asked if he could come over to play.” Happily the mother realized that she was modeling acceptance for her son. The mom looked at him and asked, “Why would you think that you should have told me that?” The young boy answered, “The bus driver said ‘I hope you told your parents the color of your friend’s skin before you invited him.’”
All the mother could do was hug her son and tell him how proud she was of him that the color of someone’s skin didn’t register as important to him. She said, “Those of us who don’t see color, race, or any other differences as important are the lucky ones. Do you know why?” He looked up at her. “Because that means that there are so many more people in the world who can become our friends than will become the friends of the people who think those differences matter.” The people who aren’t modeling acceptance lose out on so much happiness and friendship.
The mom made a mental note to follow through on the bus driver’s comment.