Peer Pressure - Advice for my children
For My Children - Peer Pressure
This may seem long, but what are a few paragraphs from your Father compared to a book? Give me ten minutes; I'll give you your life...
You don't have to rebel against your parents to prove who you are. You are allowed to make mistakes, but understand the difference between a bad day and a bad life. You will never hear an approving word about an action about something that hurts you or someone else, but you will not hear disapproval because you are not perfect. Nobody is perfect.
You will feel every temptation that a human can feel. Just because I am concerned about you doesn't mean you will not be lured by someone or yourself into things that you might regret. It's strange, but many things in life that feel good will come back to haunt you later. That's what you need to understand. You will not break new ground when it comes to sin. It's all been done. The sad thing is that everybody has that moment in life when they realize the things they did were because they were trying to be an adult, when in fact they were acting the complete opposite. To do something because "you're not supposed to" is the act of an immature person. An adult has nothing to prove and most likely has the abllity to pay for his own mistakes. To assume your parents will bail you out means you are still a child. The "bad" act does not make you an adult. The ability to say no or the ability AND desire to solve your own problem are signs of being an adult.
One of the difficulties of life is that so many people you encounter will try to lead you astray. When I think about it, nobody said, "Hey Mark, let's go to church on Sunday." It didn't happen like that for me. It had to come from within. You can't assume that someone is going to reach you. You have to decide what you are going to be about. You may think that you only hear what you shouldn't do from the adults when in fact you are probably really hearing what you shouldn't do from your friends. Except instead of saying no, they are saying yes. And when you are young, your friends have more influence than your parents or your teachers. That's because you live in the world of your friends. They are reality to you while the adults are only seen as obstacles to your own desires. I understand the pressure of being cool or being accepted by your friends because as a child, you really don't have the option of just hanging out with the adults all the time. We tell you how to live and then leave you to live with our words in your world.
There is an old saying: "You have to stand for something or you will fall for anything." What do you stand for? Who do you listen to? Do you have any thoughts or beliefs of your own or do you just wait for one of your friends who seems to be popular to define who you are?
Here's another thing to watch for: "A true friend won't threaten to NOT be your friend unless you do what they say." A true friend only wants what is best for you. I was pressured by so many children long ago to do things that I knew were wrong and guess what? None of them are around today. They all have their own lives. But, I have mine and I have to live with whatever decision I made when they were pressuring me. I have to live with it. Not them. Me. That's because the decision was mine; not theirs. So, don't do what someone else wants because it's the easy thing to do at that moment; UNLESS IT'S THE RIGHT THING.
That is all in the past for me; but it is in your future. Always remember the future because it is the only thing you can impact today. There is nothing you can do about yesterday. But, if too many "bad" yesterday's pile up, then you will live a life of climbing out of the hole that you dug for yourself.
I've been around the two of you long enough to know you have kind hearts and sharp minds. They are unpoisoned. The poison of wrong thinking or cruel actions are going to be offered to you every day and it will be up to you to recognize this and make the decision if you are going to eat it or not. I have great hopes and faith in both of you, but I can't live your life for you. That is for you. You don't have to live your life for me... "to make me proud." I don't want you to live with that kind of pressure. All I want is to somehow make you understand how much power you have to influence yourself. Be yourself. Be strong. Being a man or woman doesn't mean proving you can do the wrong thing; it means you can do the right thing even if everyone else says don't do it. That is your challenge. What do you want? To be an adult or a child? It's your decision...