I am a textbook middle child. I was born between a dynamic, talented, first-born and a fun-loving, darling, baby of the family. According to birth order theory, middle children have peacemaking tendencies, and I certainly do.

What I’ve had to learn though is that peacemaking in relationships is not peace-at-all-costs. If we subscribe to this view – “I must sacrifice whatever I have to in order to make peace with this person” – we need to understand that the price is too high.

The truth is peace at all costs is not peace. It is acquiescence under duress, a tentative armistice, appeasement. It is not genuine peace.

Genuine peace is acceptance of another, resolution; it is agreement (even if it‘s agreeing to disagree). Genuine peace involves both people. Peace at all costs takes you out of the equation, and in the end, leaves you feeling disappointed, hurt, and unheard – there is no peace within you. Besides, when we rescue others (or even ourselves) from facing the hard work that peace requires, we soon realize we have to perform the rescue over and over again.

Peace at all costs comes from a place of weakness. Genuine peace comes from strength – compassionate strength.

There is, however, much we can do to bring peace into the situations of our lives throughthe decisions we make about our own behaviors and attitudes – and the good news is we have complete authority over all these decisions. The words of the old song that say let peace on earth begin with me are really pretty accurate. As individuals, we can truly be a great influence for peace in both our encounters with others, and within ourselves.

If you are interested in acquiring some practical tools for pursuingpeaceand would like to explore thisinfluence a little more, you are invited to attend the new LSRG recommended class Confident Conflict: New Skills for Responding to the Discord in Your Life . It will meet on Monday nights in the Fall for six sessions. You will learn some things about your own capacities for compassionate strength, and who knows, no matter what your birth order is, you just might discover that you have peacemaking tendencies too.


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