Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Things I'd Like to Tell My Junior Highers Part 3

     If you missed Part 1, click here. For Part 2, click here!

3. You have a voice.

I know you’ve heard people tell you (countless times) not to give in to peer pressure. But, how often do you take that advice?

I don’t just mean with “big” things like saying no to drugs and alcohol and the opposite sex. What about when you’re invited to a party that you probably shouldn’t attend? What about when your friends put on a movie that you know you shouldn’t watch? What do you do when your group starts to talk about someone else behind his or her back?

Do you use your voice as you know you should? Or, do you sink into the background and let it happen? Do you go to bed with a guilty conscience knowing that you should have said something, done something?

Is your voice silent, or does it speak up and do the right thing?

I know it’s not easy to say no or to speak out against what your friends are doing. It wasn’t that long ago that I was your age, in your position (and believe me, some things never change). But, take it from me; it is SO worth it to do the right thing, to do good. I’m certainly far from perfect. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, but I made a series of choices back when I was your age, and I decided to use my voice as I grew up.

I never went to a party—not in junior high or high school or college. Why? It wasn’t worth it to me. I didn’t need to be there. My friends and I could find much better ways to spend our time. I didn’t drink at all until I turned 21 (and now it’s quite rare that I do). Like I mentioned in my last post, I try to stay away from rated R movies, and I don’t listen to music with parental advisories. I didn’t date until after college, and I’m certainly not going to give any part of myself away until I’m married. Call me a loser if you'd like. I'll own it. That doesn't matter to me as much as following my heart (and faith) and doing the right thing does. 

Please don’t misunderstand—I’m not saying any of this to toot my own horn or say in any way that I’m better than anyone or holier than thou. I’m sharing this simply because I want you to know that IT IS POSSIBLE TO SAY NO. It is possible to have an exciting, fun-filled, fulfilling school career without all the crap I mentioned above. I have some pretty amazing memories of hanging out with my friends. We’d get ourselves into some pretty great adventures, and I’d dare to say that we’re happier and more full of joy now partly because of the choices we made growing up.

Because of the grace of God and the decisions I was encouraged to make along the way, I didn’t have to grow up with many of the regrets that most of my schoolmates had to carry. I didn’t have to lie my way through junior high and high school. I didn’t have to be one person at school and another at home. And, I won’t have to enter into a marriage one day (Lord willing) knowing that I’ve already given part of myself away. How freeing is that!

I learned early how to say no and how to be an advocate for my beliefs.

You have a voice.

Use it to say no. Use it for GOOD.

PS - Parts 4 and 5 of Things I'd Like to Tell My Junior Highers coming soon. 

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