Peers vs. Parents
Thirty percent of college students drop out after their first year at school. While the dropout rate slows after that, the total dropout rate is somewhere in the 40–50 percent range. Why so many?
The most common reasons are lack of discipline, lack of money, lack of friends, or lack of ability. The primary reason people drop out of Wisdom University is peer pressure—the influence of others in the same social group or age group. This is not limited to the young, but it’s especially influential when we’re young. Such groupthink results in bad decisions, then sin, then stress, then failure, and then dropping out.
How do we stay enrolled in Wisdom University, and even graduate with honors? Proverbs 1:8–19 shows us how to overcome peer pressure and successfully persevere in our studies. It starts with prioritizing our parents over our peers.
Parental Instruction Will Prosper You
Your parents love you “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching” (Prov. 1:8). The reader is addressed as “son” three times, reminding him not only of who brought him into the world, protected him, and provided for him, but also of the loving relationship between him and his parents.
Your parents teach you wisdom. By passing on “instruction” and “teaching” (Prov. 1:8), both parents are obeying Deuteronomy 6:6–9, in which God requires the parents to teach their children God’s wisdom.
Your parents want you to succeed. “For they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck” (Prov. 1:9). Garlands and pendants were the gold medals of Solomon’s time. Parents are training their children to become champions.
Your parents aren’t trying to imprison you.
They’re trying to get you ready for freedom.
Is it not okay to go along with my peers sometimes?
Peer Pressure Will Destroy You
Your peers are sinners. “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. If they say, ‘Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason’” (Prov. 1:10–11). Not content to sin themselves, they want to draw others in too. They entice, persuade, seduce, and allure, knocking on the doors of minds and hearts, inviting you to join their murderous gang. “Don’t even put your hand on the handle,” Solomon warns. He’s comparing and contrasting the evil character of the friends with loving parents.
Your peers tell you lies. “We shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder; throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse” (Prov. 1:13–14). They promise prosperity, popularity, security, and identity to all new recruits. But these are false promises from the father of lies, who was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44–45).
Your peers are doomed. “These men lie in wait for their own blood; they set an ambush for their own lives. Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors” (Prov. 1:18–19). The hunted and the hunters fall into the trap. What they were doing to others is done to them. Their punishment is tailored to their sins. They set out to ambush others, but they ambush themselves. Sin had short-term benefits but long-term costs; it is attractive but deadly.
Parents pressure you to develop, but peers pressure you to destruction.
This article is adapted from Proverbs: Stories of Wisdom and Folly by David Murray.
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