It can take a lot of courage to admit when you’re not good at something and ask for help – especially for parents.
That’s why social media users flocked to help a “clueless white momma” who posted a Facebook plea for advice on styling the hair of her adopted black daughter.
When Stephanie Hollifield first adopted Haley, the mother-of-five from Georgia says that she obsessively sought advice for how to care for the youngster’s hair.
Despite investing in expensive hair care products and collecting tidbits of wisdom from friends and internet resources, Hollifield was distressed when Haley’s teacher sent her a picture of Haley at school.
The 2-year-old girl was happily absorbed in a coloring book, but Hollifield couldn’t help but notice that Haley’s hair looked unkempt – and she felt that she had failed to take care of her daughter’s appearance.
“Her hair seemed perfectly conditioned and styled when I sent her off to daycare a few hours earlier, but it looked different in the picture,” Hollifield wrote on her parenting blog. “The voices of all the women who had taken their time to tell me the importance of taking care of my daughter’s hair rang in my ear.
“I felt like a failure. I was sure I was missing something simple— that I was making it more difficult than it had to be.”
Hollifield then posted the photo to Facebook and asked for help.
Discussions about race on social media can often take some unexpected turns towards negativity, but Hollifield was stunned by the resulting outpouring of support.
“The response was astounding,” says Hollifield. “Within an hour, I had gotten dozens of comments and handfuls of personal messages. Helpful, encouraging, useful advice. I immediately felt supported by my community.
“One woman, Monica, who I had never met in person, offered to come to my house and help me out. She was so kind and helpful over messenger, that I immediately took her up on her offer.”
True to her word, Monica Hunter stopped by Hollifield’s house a few days after sending the message with a basket of supplies in hand and sat down with Haley in her lap. The little girl immediately took to her new stylist and Hollifield started to understand what she had been doing wrong with her daughter’s hair.
“What I had missed in all of the previous advice I’d received was the idea that I would be able to do simple protective styles at home,” says Hollifield. “[Monica] gave me headbands, products, and combs. She wouldn’t accept my money in return. I was in awe of her grace and her kindness. She took time away from her family to help me, when she had nothing to gain.
“Haley’s hair looked adorable, and she kept looking in the mirror while touching her new puffs saying, ‘So pretty!’ She kept hugging me and then hugging her new friend, Mrs. Monica. I don’t think I had ever seen Haley smile so big.”
Hollifield posted a selfie of Hunter and her daughter to Facebook and was even more astonished by the massive social media response. Thousands of people liked, commented, and shared the photo and dozens of media outlets reached out to her about sharing her story.
Though she was initially surprised by the post’s fame, however, she soon understood why people were so taken with her story.
“In our country, where everything seems so divisive, this quiet act of kindness spoke loudly to people from all walks of life,” says Hollifield. “People are hesitant to reach out to someone who may be different. Conversations are too difficult.
“In these tricky times, it’s hard to know what to say. How to respond. People seem so easily offended, so we stop trying to understand each other. We cling to those who think like us. Those who share our beliefs. Those in our same political party. Those who look like us. In the process, we close the others out.
“The inability to share space with people when it is the slightest bit uncomfortable cements the divide. Underneath the ‘other side’ are amazing people that we are cutting ourselves off from. We have so much to offer each other.
“There is so much more that we have in common than the things that divide us. Thank you, Monica, for reminding me — and so many others — of the importance of kindness.”
Be Sure And Share This Sweet Story Of Kindness With Your Friends On Social Media – Photo by Stephanie Hollifield