One of the things a young person experiences most is peer pressure. There are behaviors or practices that seem to be the norm in their lives and suddenly it seems that it must become the norm for everyone. Why not do it if everyone does it? What’s wrong with it? Why wait to be told if I can live my own experience? I learned in my youth that not because the dumb all do it is the right thing, nor because many do not do it means that it is wrong. Going with the flow and letting go of the pressure is very easy. The reality is that what is not easy is being different.
Being different can earn you the rejection of a group, its criticism or even the possibility of insults or derogatory words. I remember that in my time the expression “what a charro you are” was used a lot. Depending on the challenge they were facing at the time, they also used to say to the non-participant: “You are a chicken.” The point was to pressure the young man until he was persuaded to give in to what the others were doing. As the years go by, the challenges may be different, because each generation is different, but the pressure it faces remains the same.
The word, which is rich in examples that we can mention, speaks of 4 young people who had no fear of being different, they were called Daniel, Ananías, Misael and Azarías. These young men were part of a chosen one to be presented to the king, so they were going to live under the care of the king’s men. Their food was to be from the delicacies of the palace. But they asked not to eat that food, since they knew that it was presented to idols. They asked to eat only vegetables and water, while the others ate from the king’s food. Surprisingly they looked much stronger and more robust than the rest of the youth and God honored them, because God honors those who honor him. Daniel 1:17 says: “To these four boys God gave knowledge and intelligence in all letters and sciences; and Daniel had understanding in all vision and dreams”.
Today you may be facing pressure to be part of those running to the same place. Maybe that’s “nice”, as we usually say. But how much do you dare to be different and walk in the opposite direction of what the pressure demands of you? Have you really analyzed the value it takes to be different? What would be wrong with not doing what the rest of the group does? Do you prefer to be one of the bunch or do you really have the guts to be different? Why when I am different, I feel that I am not special? Why does that make me feel inferior? Why can’t I think I’m marked for a special purpose? Yes, because to be different you must have guts, character, self-control, security, firmness, courage. Being one of the bunch does not make you stand out, it makes you ordinary. Maybe in the moment it makes you feel good to have felt accepted and approved, but then you could be carrying feelings of guilt, shame, pain, failure. So, it is important to evaluate what you want for your life.
Today the world is yearning for different people. I hear young people continually express how disappointed or frustrated they feel with the systems of governments, with the generation that precedes them. They speak with shame of their grandparents and parents for being generations whose decisions today mark a damage in our society. I don’t blame them for that. But, before raising your finger to point out what you think is wrong, ask yourself, how different are you willing to be. How willing are you to face pressure, and before you think about how accepted you want to be, can you think about how much difference you want to make?
Of those who go with the flow, nothing different has been written, those who make history are those who have dared to say no, I will not be the same. God made me unique, with different characteristics, with different dreams and goals, with a longing for greater things. Of those who were in the king’s palace eating the king’s food, they seemed to be the important thing at that time, but of them today we are not reading anything, there are no memories or history, but of those 4 young people who made the decision not to be equals, today we are learning a lesson in life and wisdom. So today I invite you to come out of the pile, of the common, of the ordinary, of the usual, of those there are already many. Come on, dare to write a new story and dare to be different. Blessings.