Excerpted from Jack Pransky’s book, “Prevention from the Inside-Out”
Some Native kids began to hang out in a mostly White residential area in Bemidji, Minnesota. They began throwing their garbage on the ground and causing enough of a ruckus that the residents became concerned. More than concerned, they wanted them out of there! Some residents harassed these Native kids, They called the police. Nothing worked.
Julie Flathers, who had been trained in Health Realization, lived in the neighborhood. As I remember the story, she and her neighbor puzzled over what to do. She knew these kids had health within them, only no one was seeing it. She and her neighbor then had the idea “Let’s bring them lemonade and cookies!” The Native kids were shocked and suspicious – at first. But when they saw the sincerity and friendliness of Julie and her neighbor, they became most appreciative. They all began to talk and make friends. Without even being asked, the Native kids started to pick up their garbage.
This is what can happen when people see health and innocence instead of the presenting behavior. People rise to the occasion through that sight. It is another example of “what we see is what we get.”