I’ve heard it said that when you turn 40, you settle into who you are and stop worrying about what other people think. You make decisions for your own family, and feel pretty secure doing so, even if your best friend would have done the complete opposite.
Maybe you realize that all of those years of succumbing to peer pressure or people pleasing never amounted to anything good, and so you dust that off and start a new chapter.
I’m not 40, yet. Luke has mentioned some 40th birthday party ideas for me and I’m like, “I still have 2.3 years left! Stop talking about it!” But apparently, still being in your late 30’s has some ramifications.
Did you know that peer pressure is still very real in your 30’s? I jest, cause of course you know this. Parenting peer pressure, to be specific.
Two things struck me this morning that happened as a result of me caving to peer pressure.
1) When faced with movie options for my daughter’s friend’s sleepover, I looked up reviews and felt sure about saying no to at least one of them. But my gutt was telling me that probably none of them were that awesome for my kid. Except all the other moms were like “I trust your judgment ______!” and, “Awesome! Brings me back to my teenage years!” and then they listened to me say, “Not this one, and maybe not this one,” and the song “Every party has a pooper that’s why we invited you, party pooper, party pooper…” started ringing in my ears and I couldn’t take the pressure!
2) Two years ago I was going to have my daughter switch soccer clubs to one that was close to our house, when I started hearing soccer gossip from other moms that that club was rude or snotty or what-not. So I followed their opinions and chose a different club, only to see those same moms switch clubs the very next year to the very one I was going to choose. And only to find ourselves doing the very same thing this year and wishing I had stuck to my gutt two years earlier.
These are just two lame examples of following peer pressure, but both have had some consequences that I regret. Don’t get me wrong, God uses everything, even our silly choices and mistakes, to work out His purposes for us. But our choices have consequences, as we all like to tell our children.
Case #1–Some movies were watched which resulted in images being viewed that I had completely forgotten were even in those movies and that were later regretted by my daughter. Agh, why wasn’t I more firm in my conviction? But the good result was an honest conversation with my daughter about temptation, and what to do when mom isn’t around and your conscience is pricking you. We talked about God’s desire for our holiness and how it’s super duper hard sometimes when our friends are doing something we know we shouldn’t. And I confessed that I had fallen into peer pressure too, and that it will always be a struggle that we have to turn over to the Lord.
Case #2–Not that I could have predicted any of this, and it’s not necessarily a direct result of my choice, but in the end my daughter was basically abandoned by a club that made choices for it’s own interest instead of considering the individual soccer player’s interests. Thankfully, my girl is resilient and never gives up. Thankfully this is a small blip on the story of her life, and we have been able to wait on the Lord and trust His purposes knowing that He’s got it all under control.
I’m not walking in guilt or regret, with my shoulders sunk low and my countenance down. This is life, and we walk through it. We keep moving forward and learn the lessons the Lord wants us to learn with each situation.
I do, however, long for confidence. I hate it when I’m shifty in my decisions and doubtful. Turning 40 isn’t gonna be a magic number, I think it is a slow growth. Wisdom does seem to come with age though, as long as with age we’re in the Word, seeking His face, growing in the Lord. It is hard earned over years of studying, seeking, leaning into the Lord, and learning from our mistakes.
I welcome age 40 if the wisdom comes along with it.
All of this makes me wonder what’s to come this year? In what situations will we be crying out for wisdom, and going against the grain of the world? One just headed to high school, one just headed to middle school, and one just headed to sweet 2nd grade.
If I thought parenting peer pressure was hard before, I think the hardest is yet to come.