Weekly Thought – January 7, 2014
Fred enjoyed studying social patterns; He also enjoyed swimming against the stream. In his later years comfort won out over style. He attended breakfasts at the Dallas Country Club attired in his plaid flannel pajamas. He focused on what he had to offer, not on winning “best dressed awards.” Fred separated himself from image, function, and status.
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Pressured by Peers
Peers come in groups. Seldom are they developed individually. We move into neighborhoods, join a Sunday School class, associate with a business group, or join a social network…all come with a collection of peers. And each establishes its own set of values and mores.
We like to think of peer pressure as something applicable to only teens, but we never move totally away from it. Here are a few examples:
1) We change the way we handle being “in” and being “out,” but the definitions still exist. Political organizations punish those who oppose them when they are in power. Social groups create membership parameters based on who belongs.
2) Clothes are a measure of peer acceptance. My family believes I missed this social gene. While on vacation in Colorado at a restaurant we regularly frequented, the friendly waitress greeted me with, “Well, Mr. Smith, I see you dressed yourself today!” Too often we are constrained to dress like our peers.
3) Status symbols are a certain part of peer pressure. A psychiatrist friend of mine told me he could make a fortune by just predicting the next status symbol. When the Mont Blanc pens with their white tips were the corporate standard, a creative friend gave me a BIC pen with a black tip calling it his Mont Noir!
4) Function becomes the power card we play. We all know to focus on who we are rather than what we do. But rarely do we set our role aside. We play pecking order peer pressure games with ourselves and with others. When the role changes we can suffer loss of identity. One of my friends’ wives handled empty nest with great angst. He called one day to say, “Fred, I will be so glad when the girls get married and have children! When they left home, she needed a baby, so she adopted me!”
The Bible has the answer to peer pressure when it tells us to be conformed, not transformed. The Smith paraphrase puts it this way: “Don’t be molded from the outside but have a set of values that forms you from the inside.”
Think about this: 1) Where am I influenced by peer pressure? 2) When do I serve as the thermostat, not the thermometer? 3) Who are the positive markers in my life?
Words of Wisdom: “Don’t be molded from the outside but have a set of values that forms you from the inside.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God—what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 NET Bible)