Just Peachy

Molly, my 4 year old is a big fan of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We have a children’s book about his childhood. As with many children this age, once she locks in on a book or joke, she just can’t let go. I have read this book for 21 days in a row.

Last night, at bedtime, she picked the book out. I tried to show her how interesting the other 300 books she has might be (“Hey, look at this one, it’s got pop up’s and its 3D!”). Not going for it. So she snuggles into my lap and we begin. As we get into some of the discrimination he went through, Molly, looks up at me, “Peach people are bullies. They were mean to him just because he has brown skin.” Yes, I agree some “peach” people were mean and bullying is not ok. As we conclude the book Molly closes it and pauses, looking at her own arm. In absolute shock and horror she takes a look at my arm. “Mommy, WE are peach people!!” She bursts into tears, in disbelief that she is peach. “I want to be brown!”

I pull her up onto my lap and hold her close. “You can’t change the color of your skin, but you can be a different kind of peach person. What kind of peach person can you be?” Molly: “I can be kind, share, be a good friend, and love. I am very good at loving.”

Very often the qualities, characteristics we don’t like in others, can be found in ourselves. Molly was sure “Peach People” were bullies, until she discovered she was peach. What to do with this information? Change your perspective from judging to acceptance.

On the surface, it may seem that Molly is learning an important lesson, but in truth she is the teacher. So many of my clients come to me with long held beliefs and anger about others, how others should treat them, behave, live their lives. Coaching comes from the perspective that changing others is futile. Change from within is the only sustainable, long-lasting, meaningful choice. How much time mentally do you spend thinking of ways to “fix” or “change others” and their problems? Are you avoiding the work it will take to shift your own perspective? Below are some examples of moving from blame to change.

My husband should appreciate me. I should appreciate myself.

My wife doesn’t acknowledge how hard I work. I don’t acknowledge how hard I work.

My friends have abandoned me. I have abandoned myself.

My children don’t respect me. I don’t respect myself.