Peer Pressure: The American Dream

Jun 12, 2012Archive

This post comes from Kevin Miller, king of the Free Agent Academy. His motto? “Give me liberty free agency or give me death.” Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

What I adore about this post is Kevin’s way of thinking that turns everything on its head. He challenges our assumptions and he bucks against the American Dream to pursue his life. I admire that. So without further ado, here’s Kevin chatting about grown up peer pressure.

Black trench coats. Ridiculous hair styles and colors. Falling off pants. Piercings and tattoos galore. Barely teens who are barely and scantily clothed. Preppies. Jocks. Goth.

My kids are primarily homeschooled, but the two oldest take a few classes at our one high school in this town of 7,000 people. Above is what I see in the span of about 3 minutes whenever I drop them off. Then there are the stories of underage drinking and drugs, sex, parties, risky behavior and more that are all part of peer pressure.

I’d scoff about it, but it pales in comparison to the peer pressure I see grown ups succumbing to today.

Far more damaging than falling down pants, piercings and kegs are adults who are devote themselves to lifestyles and ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ that doesn’t make sense at all…aside from social conformity and peer pressure.

  • We wear restrictive, dull colored and entirely nonsensical clothing (Ties. Really?) Not in what is comfortable and attractive to us.
  • We work in windowless, soulless boxes. Not in environments that we truly like and are inspired in.
  • We work at things we don’t care about or often even fully understand. Not at something that we believe in and are proud to devote ourselves to.
  • We buy things that we don’t fully enjoy or even want and don’t have enough left over to invest in what we’re passionate about.
  • We live in homes that are convenient and have the proper amenities and viable eye-appeal instead of where we find peace and glory and adventure. 
  • We spend time with people that we happen to be surrounded by, not with people who we would actually choose and truly desire to build relationships with.
  • We sometimes force both parents to work and put kids in daycare to afford late model cars that don’t get us around any better than a 10 year old car with 100,000 miles on it.

Do we do what we do because it’s really what we like most? What we believe is best and healthiest and right and true?

Or just…because it’s the norm? It’s all we know? And shameful as it may seem to say it out loud, we desperately want others to think well of us?

Are we really living that differently and free from the high school clutch of peer pressure?

And yet peer pressure is a pressure to conform. To be normal. To be average. To be…mediocre. Then we sit on the couch with our peers and watch epic movies about people who did things that are truly remarkable. People who did NOT succumb to peer pressure. Who went against the flow.

Something to think about the next time you see that kid wearing his britches down under his butt.