During a seminar I did across the concept of Peer pressure, which not solely move the students, but teachers, parents and many others. The term ‘peer pressure’ is used very frequently and there are many ways of looking at it.
At one point, it is a pressure from our peers to modify some aspect of ourselves to conform to a group behaviour. For instance, you might see yourself listening to a special type of music because your group manages. In a bigger context, societies, nation and countries are created by pressure to forge an identity based on speech, religion or political opinions.
Many of you, who have had the experience of striking from one land to another, would acknowledge the ways peer pressure works. At first, one might completely try to adjust to the new situation by learning the language or imitating the conduct of one’s equals. One might rebel against what is experienced and strive to retain one’s old identity.
Maybe after seeing both ends of the pendulum, one might get a semblance of balance that aligns with one’s own natural internal rhythm. This is an instinctive process and a lifelong journey in many different regions of one’s spirit.
Positives and negatives
Like all procedures, peer pressure can be both useful and harmful. A pupil who had never known the delights of reading found himself in a group that constantly talked about books. He slowly opened his brain to read and found a whole new universe of exciting thoughts that challenged him. He enjoyed discussing books with his new peer group and found that he was excellent at debate and group treatments. Currently, pursuing a degree in law, he attributes found his pursuit in the influence of his equals.
In contrast, many scholarly people have lived through the irritating process of indulging in activities in order to adapt to a group. A pupil was caught stealing to pay for a fancy contraption. On intensive counselling, he conceded that it was the enormous pressure to correspond in that made him trust the offense without thinking about the results.
As young people travelling through life, it is much difficult to get clarity. This is a natural part of growing up. There is no standard manual, but perhaps one safe rule that one can give is this: asking oneself, does the action bring out the best in me or does it make me uncomfortable and bring away the worst side, leading me to being addicted to something external?
While throughout history, peer pressure has always survived in some course, accelerated changes in the last twenty years have caused us more vulnerable to its essence. Our inner strength is moulded by our family and the values they teach us. Today when families are increasingly becoming nuclear and influences are mainly from television and social media, students often have to take on the world outside without a solid centre. This might cause the journey more precarious as there is no basis to consult to. To be rooted is not to become rigid or fanatical. It is to be strong on one’s central yet gain wings to change and negotiate the modifications that come one’s way.
To touch and interact with someone who has this quality is exceedingly valuable. In school, we had a teacher who seemed orthodox outwardly; however, her classes were a delight as she always encouraged debate and discussion to challenge her own thoughts. She delivered an in-depth knowledge of the scriptures and mythology of her own community, yet could accept and understand other opinions. To many of us, she was an anchor, helping us negotiate anything from a failed exam to mastering the pain of a weakened spirit!
Nobody is immune to the effects of peer pressure, and then know that you are not only. Your life is a marvellous chance to wreak out the best in yourself. Along that way, you might fall many a time or take a wrong bit. The absolute delight is in rising again and dusting away the fear of failure and acting forward.
Peer pressure is here to remain. Utilize it wisely as you pilot through life.
Take care and as always, enjoy your journey.
Like all procedures, peer pressure can be both useful and harmful.