“DON’T DRINK THE KOOL AID”

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Quenjule Slaven.

When I heard a preacher on TBN say “don’t drink the Kool Aid,” I was curious about what he meant because I love Kool Aid x 100.  I wasn’t ready to give it up so easily, so I googled it and found out it’s not that kind of Kool Aid. 

“Drink the Kool-Aid” is apparently a saying originating in the United States from the Jonestown massacre of mass suicide in 1978. Members drank the grape-flavoured Kool-Aid containing deadly poison which killed 918 followers, 300 of which were children by the way.  

It’s a negative saying, meaning not to trust any group or peer-pressure which has gone coocoo or been brainwashed with dangerous ideas.  

So what is peer pressure in a teenage perspective?  Truth be told, I wish I could say that I have completely dealt with a bad episode on this issue, but I would be lying.  Nevertheless, I have seen the effects of peer pressure in school. 

I know that bad peer pressure is when your peers (friends roughly around your age), try to get you to do bad things your parents normally would disapprove.  For example - to smoke, drink, do drugs, cheat, gang up on people or pick fights, and the naughty list goes on. 

We all face it from time to time, and many times it can be hard to stand up for what is right, especially when you “drink the Kool Aid” (so to speak) meaning peers pressuring or brainwashing you to do something for all the wrong reasons so you can fit in their little group.  

Take for example, some students in our local schools, mainly boys, pick fights with other students in other schools.  Some say it’s because of peer pressure.  I say it’s stupidity to fight one another and it serves no purpose to mankind. 

Girls don’t dig it, so why not focus on beating them with our brains, instead of our fists?  Just walk away and think about the consequences.   It’s like when you see a rabbit laying little brown eggs, common sense…… you don’t eat them!  It’s not chocolate! You ignore it.  It’s the same thing with fighting when following your peers, common sense……. it’s not worth it!  

Don’t drink the Kool Aid! 

You ignore it.  

Peer pressure is not always bad though, it can also be positive.  I heard a story in the Bible that a man named Daniel hung around with three Hebrew teenagers.  His teenage friends refused to bow down to the King’s golden idol because it went against God. 

No wonder Daniel’s life was so blessed because his friends were people of faith, courage and integrity.  Now if your friends are like the Joker in Batman, Lex Luther, Squidward from Sponge Bob or Larry, Curly and Mo, then expect trouble. 

I was told if you want to know what a person is like, just look at their friends. Psychologists tell us that we hang around with people the way we see ourselves.  If you and your friends like to pick fights and look for trouble, then trouble will surely find you and you will never be at peace. 

Just because your friends say it’s cool, does not mean it’s cool.  Did you know the average smoking age among teens nowadays is 13 years old, which is highly addictive.  Don’t be a statistic.  Kids, as young as five, come to the shop I work at to buy cigarettes. 

Policy is, we don’t sell cigarettes or alcohol to underage kids, but we still get these kids’ parents who protest, they claim the cigarettes are for them.  Is making a sale more important than looking after our future generation?  Bad habits can be very influential, giving way to more negative peer pressure.       

If you are being peer pressured and don’t want any part of it, talk to someone you trust.  I assure you they will be glad you did.  Sometimes the only reason why anyone will try and peer pressure you into something bad, is because they don’t want to do it themselves or to be alone.  Misery loves company.  

They’re not willing to risk their well-being so they put yours on the line.  If you’re friends are doing this, I’m sorry to break it to you but those are not real friends.  I mean it’s like having a friend say to you, “Hey Suga, you should rob a bank and give me half for giving you the idea. 

I would do it myself but you see my dad works at the bank and they know my face on camera……yada yada yada.”  

REALLY?     

Standing up to negative peer pressure can be difficult, but it’s not impossible.  It takes confidence to say, “GET LOST!!” It’s not the end of the world though, so find new friends.  Who we spend our time with, will impact the way we live in the future. 

30% of teens in my class say they feel the most pressure about the need to fit in.  I suppose if we are hanging around with the wrong people and drinking the Kool Aid to fit in, we will never get the chance to be with the right ones.

Whatever qualities your friends have, good or bad, it will definitely rub off on you.  Make a promise to yourself right now that you will never give into bad peer pressure.  

So let’s find friends like Daniel and his friends…Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego.   Be at peace and remember, “Don’t Drink the Kool Aid!”  It’s really not worth it! 

Choose wisely Obi-Wan Kenobi.

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