Today’s guest blogger is a friend of mine, Jill Savage, founder of Hearts at Home. Some of the best audiences I’ve ever had were gathered for Jill’s events. There’s nothing like thousands of women, laughing together in a common venue, for a common purpose.
If you leave a comment, “like” this blog on Facebook or retweet it before Aug 1st, you will be entered in a drawing to win a copy of Jill’s book, Living With Less So Your Family Has More.
Adult Peer Pressure
By Jill Savage
Copyright Jill Savage 2012
The words “peer pressure” usually refer to the pressure to conform that teenagers experience in social settings. But if we’re honest, peer pressure doesn’t stop after the teen years…it continues right on into adulthood.
After spending a year writing my newest book Living With Less So Your Family Has More, I really starting thinking about the reality of adult peer pressure. If we’re not aware of the demand to conform, we’ll likely find ourselves pressured into a lifestyle that either takes us into debt or requires us to work more to give our family what we perceive as “more.”
At the end of our life, though, what we give our family materially isn’t nearly as important as what we give our family relationally. It’s our Creator, God, who gives us value, not the created things of this world. Bigger isn’t necessarily better. Less really can be more.
We can’t resist peer pressure if we don’t recognize it’s there. In order to not get snagged by cultural expectations, watch out for these types of adult peer pressure:
Pressure to have debt—Our culture seeks immediate gratification. We want what we want when we want it…even if we have to pay double the price in interest to have it. Believe it or not, there are people who have an average income that pay cash for a car, refuse the concept of 12 months same as cash, and other than having a mortgage for a home would never take out a loan for anything.
Pressure to give our kids every possible opportunity—In our activity-centered life too many of us forget that the best opportunity we can give our kids is simply the opportunity to be a kid. In the preschool years, our kids need to play in the backyard sandbox rather than on an organized sports team. Once our kids are older, they need to be able to balance opportunities with boundaries. Standing up to the peer pressure to do everything can later help a young adult to stand up to the peer pressure to buy everything.
Pressure to move up the corporate ladder–We have to weigh carefully how much time and energy we want to pour into our career, especially if it will take away from our family. There are those who resist this pressure and choose to step off the corporate ladder. Yes, it limits their earning power, but it increases their availability to their family.
Pressure to shop at certain stores or buy certain brands—When I was growing up, Jordache jeans were the thing to buy. Today there are other names on the labels that you pay big bucks for. Today’s name brands are tomorrow’s second hand store best buys. Be careful about feeling pressured to buy certain brands for yourself or your kids. Your identity needs to be based upon the name of Jesus, not the name on your jeans.
Pressure to live in the right neighborhood or drive the right car—Too often we allow ourselves to be defined by things we could lose in the blink of an eye. Those who resist status spending peer pressure may drive older cars and choose to live in a house and neighborhood they can more easily afford. Not only that, but those who live within their means are far less stressed than those who live beyond their means.
Adult peer pressure is real, it’s controlling, and it will influence us far more than we realize. Take a minute and think about the impact cultural expectations have on your thinking. Talk it over with your spouse. And then stand firm on what’s right for your family…regardless of what others think!
Jill Savage is an author and speaker who is passionate about encouraging families. The author of seven books including Living With Less So Your Family Has More, she is the founder and CEO of Hearts at Home, an organization for moms. You can find her online at www.jillsavage.org and www.HeartsAtHome.org.
Ellie Kay, America’s Family Financial Expert (R)