In today's world, many teenagers center their attention on the opinions of others. They worry about whether they are too fat or too skinny or too tall or too short, and they constantly think about what people are thinking about them. While asking themselves: "What does everyone think of me?" they fail to ask themselves: "What do I think of me?"
Oftentimes, teenagers, and even adults, place tremendous pressure on each other to do this or say that or go here or wear that, which causes a person to make a choice between conforming to people's expectations and being accepted, or standing their ground and becoming subject to the criticism that follows. When forced to make this choice, many will choose to succumb to the pressure and join the crowd. A minority, however, will hold their ground and stay true to who they are. We should strive to break the mold and join this minority.
Although I am homeschooled, I too have been faced with many of the same dilemmas as other teens. I have to choose whether to be moral or be profane. I have to make a choice not to use foul language. I have to make the decision to never use drugs or drink alcohol if I am presented with them. All of these are examples of things a teenager is often faced with. If they are leaning towards making the correct choice, others will often pressure them into making the wrong one they themselves have already made. In an effort to be accepted, that person will make the wrong choice too.
The choices a person makes early on will affect them for the rest of their life. For this reason, we should try to make the moral choice that will bring about a positive effect on our lives. Religious people like myself should seek answers in the Bible and follow God's standards, not the world's. God's opinion of us and our opinion of ourselves should really be the only two opinions that matter. We should not focus on what others think of us. We should try to make ourselves and God proud, not our peers. We should respect the opinions of others, but we should not live by them.
Not everyone believes in God, however. People who do not follow the Biblical standard should rely on what they have been taught was right. It may not always be correct, but if they stick to what they have learned, then they have stayed true to themselves.
If we follow what we know is right, what our parents have taught us to be right, or what the Bible has taught us, we will be able to make better choices and be ourselves. We will not feel like we are forced to conform to everyone else's ideas of how we should act, or what we should look like, or how we should live our lives. We will be happier if we can just be ourselves, break the mold, and be different. Being different from the status quo is a good thing! God made us all different, so we should embrace it and encourage others to be different, too.
By: Hunter Rogers