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Showing posts with label peer pressure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label peer pressure. Show all posts

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lessons From the Playground

Back in the early seventies, I was another dumb kid just trying to fit in when I learned a powerful lesson on how to treat people. As a reward for all of our hard work, the school took us on a field trip to one of the best playgrounds in the world–Six Flags.

Being middle schoolers, we radiated cool as we weaved from ride to ride with a large group of boys and girls. All was wonderful until the lead nasty girl huddled us in a group and whispered, "Let's ditch Dan."

Well, okay. Gee, I had no mind of my own, so if she says we're going to do this, I went along with it. At her signal, all of us darted away from poor Dan.

Next, she chose a second victim, and a third. The group continually grew smaller as we ditched one kid after another. Being that this nasty girl was my good friend, it never dawned on me that eventually I would be the one ditched. They ditched me.

Alone and terrified, I shook in the middle of that huge amusement park. Strangers surrounded me as I wandered up and down the paths looking for one, just one familiar face. Why had I gone along with the pack earlier? Why hadn't I had the courage to speak up and say, "Stop! This is wrong" or  "No! I'm not ditching anyone." I'd never even thought about how cruel our stunt was, and if I hadn't gotten ditched myself, maybe I never would have. So I'm glad they left me. And as for my nasty friend... that was the END of that friendship.

Okay, I confess, she is a current Facebook friend; so, do I paste a link to this post in a private message to her? After that day, she didn't seem to understand why I didn't want to be her friend anymore. Would she understand as an adult? Has she ever thought of Six Flags since or is my horrible memory a faded smudge on her bridge. I have found the ability to forgive her, but I will NEVER forget. It was too painful.