When sports writer Dave McKenna lost his mother in 2011, he got some support from an unexpected source.

In a video for Deadspin published in June 2018, McKenna spoke frankly about the suffering that accompanies such a staggering loss.

"It was to experience a level of grief that was almost exhilarating," he recounted. "Like nothing I'd ever been through."


McKenna also knew that he'd have to keep going, so one day he went to a coffee shop in D.C. to get his work done. 15 minutes in, a man interrupted him and told him he'd need to check his bag.

The reason? The president of the United States would soon be coming to see him.

"How did he know I was here?" McKenna joked to a fellow patron. But President Barack Obama really was on his way. A friend of McKenna's, Jay Carney, Obama's spokesperson at the time, had told the president about McKenna.

When Obama entered the coffee shop, he made a beeline for McKenna.

"He put his hand out," McKenna tears up, "and says, 'Jay told me about you. I went through this myself. You may not know this, you may not understand this, but things will get better. You can't believe this now, but they will get better."

McKenna had felt isolated in his grief, but Obama's words helped change that for him.

McKenna felt he would have to face his grief by himself. He'd seen other people go through the loss of a parent or loved one, and he understood that the world doesn't stop for anyone's pain.

Moments like the one between McKenna and Obama, though, remind us that we're not alone.

It's important to remember how meaningful it is when people show up for us in our moments of pain.

What Obama did was thoughtful and compassionate and shows that even the smallest kindness can help us heal. Not everyone has a president on speed dial, but that doesn't mean we can't show up for our friends, relatives, and extended social network during difficult times.

It doesn't take much — a phone call, a text, a workday lunch — to remind others we care, see all they are going through, and are here to support them no matter what.

With time and kindness, things really can get better.

Watch McKenna tell the full story of Obama's visit below:

Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less

Former President George W. Bush and current president Donald Trump may both be Republicans but they have contrasting views when it comes to immigration.

Trump has been one of the most anti-immigrant presidents of recent memory. His Administration separated undocumented families at the border, placed bans on travelers from majority-Muslim countries, and he's proudly proclaimed, "Our country is full."

George W. Bush's legacy on immigration is a bit more nuanced. He ended catch-and-release and called for heightened security at the U.S.-Mexico border, but he also championed an immigration bill that created a guest worker program and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people.

Unfortunately, that bill did not pass.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

Keep Reading Show less

Roland Pollard and his 4-year-old daughter Jayden have been doing cheer and tumbling stunts together since Jayden could walk. When you see videos of their skills, the level of commitment is apparent—as is the supportive relationship this daddy has with his daughter.

Pollard, a former competitive cheerleader and cheer coach, told In The Know that he didn't expect Jayden to catch on to her flying skills at age 3, but she did. He said he never pressures her to perform stunts and that she enjoys it. And as a viral video of Jayden almost falling during a stunt shows, excelling at a skill requires good teaching—something Pollard appears to have mastered.

Keep Reading Show less