My lovely Kindergartener and her friend came up to me while I was volunteering at her class party and proceeded to, amid many chuckles and giggles, inform me about something that happened on the playground that day. In the grand scheme of things, it was not that big of a deal. But, that does not mean that I did not panic a little bit inside. While anger raged within me (okay, raged may be a bit drastic…but I am a passionate person) I was able to remain cool and collected on the outside. I simply looked at my daughter and said, “We are going to have a talk.”
In hindsight, that was possibly just as bad as many other thoughts that was running through my mind because, while Maggie laughed at first, it only took about 10 seconds for her to realize that she just might be in trouble. She wasn’t in trouble…but we needed to have a talk.
I am not going to tell you what actually took place on the playground that day, but I will tell you that it was a poor decision on her part and, as I suspected, was the result of peer pressure. And peer pressure, my dear friends, is my biggest concern for my children.
I get it. My kids will make poor decisions. They will mess up. I know this because I make poor decisions at times and mess up more than I care to think about…and I am 34 years old. So, I am sure a 6 year old and a 4 year old will do the same. Add peer pressure to the mix and you have a greater probability that things may take a path that is not preferable.
The author of the book of Sirach** helps us understand a little better this issue of peer pressure:
Let your acquaintances be many, but for advisers choose one out of a thousand. (Sirach 6:6)
Not everyone is worthy to follow. Not every acquaintance will consider what is right. Not every friend is truly a friend. When we talked to our daughter about this situation we discovered that those peers who asserted the pressure were not her friends. At least they are not the friends she usually hangs out with and wants to have play dates with. Not, these were friends that were not really her friends. They did not have her best interest in mind. They were not concerned with what was right in this situation. And Maggie fell victim to that.
I am sure it won’t be the last time because there are times in my life that I fall victim to peer pressure. And, I am sure you do too. Ultimately, there is one advisor we should be following…and that is God. What is He telling you? How is He guiding you? In any given situation…what is He prompting you to do? Now…are your friends doing the same? Or, are they pulling you in a different direction?
We all have friends that attempt to assert their influence in our lives. The problem is, as the author of Sirach points out, they are not all worthy to be heard. In fact, very few are…something like 1 out of 1000.
**Sirach is found in the Apocrypha. While the Apocrypha is not included in the Protestant Bible (it is included in the Roman Catholic Bible) we do believe that the books included were written by godly authors, but not necessarily God inspired. Therefore, we consider them helpful and appropriate to read…just not to be included in the Holy Scriptures.