Parents, teachers and counsellors express real concern about the effect of peer pressure on children and youth. While negative peer pressure can create many problems for children of all ages, do not forget that your children and youth can exercise positive peer pressure by presenting a healthy example for others to follow. Raising strong young people with a firm foundation of right living can make them a positive influence in their school and neighbourhood.
Other People Are Reading
Rehoboam presents a picture of negative peer pressure. Youth can examine I Kings 12:1-33, as Rehoboam refuses to listen to wisdom from his father's advisers and listened instead to the advice of his young friends. Compare the advice of the wise men in verses four through seven to the advice of the king's young friends in verses eight through eleven. Youth can read the boast of the king and discuss how they would feel if they lived under Rehoboam, and why his actions caused the kingdom of Israel to split and idolatry to spread in Judah. Ask the youth to consider how the outcome would have changed had Rehoboam listened to his father's wise advisers.
Trip to the Furnace
Read Daniel 3 and examine how Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow to peer pressure by worshipping the image of King Nebuchadneezzar. Have the youth act out the drama Fiery Furnace Play, which is a modern adaptation of this Bible story. After the play, youth can discuss why it is important to do right even when everyone pressures you to do wrong. They can share any experiences they have when they chose to do the right thing when it was hard. Have youth weigh the value of the honour given to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego versus the result had they bowed to peer pressure.
Dinner with Big Cats
Examine Daniel 6 where Daniel's enemies used peer pressure to convince King Darius to pass a law that sent Daniel into the lion's den. Youth can examine the reaction of Darius when he discovers his actions threaten Daniel. Youth discuss how the consequences of giving in to peer pressure can have unexpected results and harm others. In the story, God delivered Daniel and caused his enemies to suffer the fate they wished on him. Youth can talk about times when giving in to peer pressure created unforeseen negative consequences.
Peter's Bold Example
In Acts 3-4, Peter and John heal a man, proclaim Jesus as resurrected and are put in prison to face a trial. The religious leaders instruct Peter and John to stop preaching, but they do not and Peter's boldness inspires other believers to speak with similar boldness and to live with charity toward others (Acts 4:31-34). Youth can examine how Peter's influence transformed the community in Jerusalem. They can role-play situations when they are told to quit talking to others about their faith and determine appropriate responses that display boldness and Christian love.
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