Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Peer Pressure

There is so much written and said about peer pressure. It has been an important focus, and rightly so, of parents and psychologists for many, many years. So many good kids have been led astray by this hideous beast. They end up doing things that they know are absolutely wrong, absolutely sinful. They hurt themselves, they hurt their friends, they hurt their families. In an instant they tear down walls of trust that took years to erect. The frustrating thing is that we tend to give into peer pressure to impress or gain approval from our "friends". Our friends, the people that we would like to think have our best interests in mind. Have a drink, take this pill, steal that, intimidate them, have sex -- man just loosen up. Why is it that we think we need the approval of anyone who encourages us to do something, anything, that we know in our hearts is wrong? Why don't we think about how damaging our actions can be to those that we love? Is it that we feel that our reputation in our circle of friends is that important? If we lose this friend we won't have any others? Is it the boredom or the thrill? The mindset is so focussed on the here and now, this moment, this instant, that we are willing to release an important part of us. If you are on the inside, your decision to go along makes so much sense, hey it's no big deal. If you are on the outside looking in, these decisions make no sense at all. Of course none of us are immune to the temptations of the beast. Learn to trust your inner feelings and walk away. You are too important to be discarded or used. It is so trite, so hackneyed, but "just say no". It really can be this simple. Surround yourselves with people and situations where you know you will be protected and loved. Learn to respect what you have learned, respect your family, and most importantly, respect yourself.