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Adult Peer Pressure

My kids used to be enrolled in a part-time preschool at a church I attended when I was a youth. It had a main entrance, but also a back entrance along a gravel road that I was privy to, thanks to my "local" knowledge. So when we started going there, I would take the road to beat traffic...plus, you know, it's cool to know stuff other people don't. But when I kept meeting oncoming cars on my way in, I quickly realized that this gravel was an exit-only path, because it is only wide enough for one vehicle.

Not wanting to be the weird one, I soon adjusted my behavior, taking the main entrance on the way in, and the gravel road on the way out. And then whenever another unknowing parent would make my earlier mistake, I would silently scoff in my head: Newbie...

First day of school. Also, a sweet cover picture for our future family folk band, right?
The whole thing is kind of funny, isn't it? I read years ago that peer pressure is possibly the most powerful motivator to change human behavior, and ultimately the culture of an organization. My fear of being the weird guy who doesn't know the unspoken rules of the parking situation so gripped me that I changed my behavior immediately, with little thought to whether or not the rules of the road were legitimate. 

This was really my first time encountering this peer pressure as a parent, which leads me to ask what my future holds. I'm sure PTAs and HOAs will soon dictate to some degree what I do and how my family and house are presented. Right now I'm already kind of the weird one, being the stay-at-home dad and homemaker, and I feel pretty comfortable there; but how long will that last and how far will that go?

I think we're called to be different, and so we need to have some degree of comfortability in the midst of those differences. Of course following the rules of the parking lot don't have any big consequences, and really should be followed for the safety of everyone else. But when these ideas are sparked by small things, I like to consider how my actions now will be weighed later, when the stakes may be higher.

Just something to consider.


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