Running with the HerdJune 26, 2006
Standing against peer pressure can feel like trying to row upstream against raging rapids ... in an inner tube. On today's broadcast, Dennis Rainey takes a look at peer pressure and tells how to avoid drowning in popular opinion.
Standing against peer pressure can feel like trying to row upstream against raging rapids ... in an inner tube. On today's broadcast, Dennis Rainey takes a look at peer pressure and tells how to avoid drowning in popular opinion.
Running with the Herd
Bob: If you're 10 years old, 11, 12, even 13, listen up – Dennis Rainey's got a question for you.
Dennis: Are you ready? Right here, right now, you're beginning the ride of your life. I mean, it's the ride to maturity. You better strap it in tighter. What do you think? Do you think you can handle it? Well, your parents do, and so do I.
Announcer: Ten …
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Announcer: Lift off – we have adolescent.
Bob: And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Monday edition. Our host is the commander of mission control, Dennis Rainey, and this whole blast-off exists because – well, because, Houston, we have a problem, right?
Dennis: We do have a problem. I'll guarantee you, anybody who has raised a teenager knows that – well, I refer to the teenage years as a challenge, a challenge, and what parent doesn't need all the help, all the encouragement, not only during the teenage years but, frankly, Bob, in anticipation of the teenage years. I mean, a number of years ago Barbara and I came across Jim Dobson's "Preparation for Adolescence," and it was a book and also a tape series that we used to take our children away and prepare them for adolescence and, frankly, I do not know what we would have done if we hadn't spent that weekend – first, me with a boy, then Barbara with the girls individually, one-on-one. What a wonderful experience. I mean, it knits hearts together and what teenager doesn't need his or her parents to prepare him for some of the most dangerous years in our entire lives.
Bob: About that same time, you and Barbara started teaching the sixth grade Sunday school class at church, the now-famous sixth grade Sunday school class. In fact, your book, "Parenting Today's Adolescent," is dedicated to how many students?
Dennis: Five hundred-fifty – and you know what? Barbara and I have been asked to dedicate the books that we've written, and this was the most fun because – I don't know, the publisher didn't care for it, Bob, because it took about four or five pages to get all those young men and women's names on there, but truthfully that's why we taught that class. I mean, it wasn't a famous class, it was just Mr. Rainey's sixth grade Sunday school class at church and had anywhere from 40 to 75 11- and 12-year-olds and, truthfully, Bob, before I forgot all of what I taught them, I wanted to put it together in a book to help parents prepare their children for adolescence and help parents of teenagers go through the teenage years with a clear goal.
Bob: Now, that's exactly what you've done in the book. You've given us a great perspective, getting us ready for what is coming when our children enter adolescence, helping us shape our own convictions as parents, and then helping us be ready to challenge our son or our daughter's convictions at the same time. Out of that book, you had a desire to equip parents to tackle the assignment of getting our sons and our daughters ready for what's coming with a unique resource, a connecting resource.
Dennis: We wanted to do that around this issue of preparing both the parent and the child to go through the teenage years together, and that can be accomplished, at least it can be started, through a weekend experience where both a father and a son or a mother and a daughter get away on a Friday night, all day Saturday, to have kind of a preparation for the teenage years weekend getaway to equip that child to begin to get ready to handle the traps they're going to face.
Bob: We put all of the material together in a box – five audio CDs for parents and teenagers to listen to. One of them, actually, is for the mom or dad to listen to before you go on the weekend, and then there are four CDs you listen to with your teenager as you're out on the weekend. There's a student guide, there's a parent guide, there are projects you do together. The whole weekend is built around Colossians 1:18, a verse that says that Jesus Christ has come to have first place in everything, and at the end of the weekend there is even a passport that you hand to your student that reminds him of the journey you've been on together and the journey he is about to go on as he heads off into adolescence.
Dennis: Right, it's kind of fun. It makes me wish I'd had one of these when I was 10, 11, 12, 13.
Bob: Well, this week we thought we'd have our listeners here just a little bit of what parents and preteens hear together when they go off on one of these getaway weekends. The first subject that's addressed during the weekend, the first thing they hear when they pop the CD into the CD player is all about peer pressure.
Dennis: That's right, in fact, the other day, Bob, I was jogging, and I haven't been able to jog enough here recently, but I was out running, and I was listening to Passport to Purity, the tapes, and I was listening to peer pressure. And, I've got to tell you, this is really a fun tape for kids.
Bob: It really is. I just recently had to travel on business about four hours from home for an overnight trip, so I said to Mary Ann, "I think it's time for David to join me on a trip. He's our soon-to-be 12-year-old, and I said it's time for him to go on his Passport to Purity trip. And I've already done this with my son, Jimmy, who just graduated from high school; with my son, John, who is about to go into high school; so it was David's turn, and we got in the car, and we headed off on this business trip, and on the way up, I popped the first CD into the CD player, and we listened together to Mr. Rainey begin talking about the issues that are just around the corner for him, and we listened to the songs that are a part of the whole package, and there are little audio dramas that are included in this. We went through the projects together – had a great weekend, and what's been fun is since that time we've had a lot of opportunity to reflect back, and I've been able to remind him and say, "Remember when we talked about that?"
Or we have sung to one another some of the songs we heard that weekend, and some of the memory verses that came out of those songs and, again, our goal for this week is to let our listeners hear just a sample of what is included in this getaway weekend for parents and children, and it all begins with a mom and a daughter or a dad and a son listening as you talk about teenagers running with the herd.
[from Passport to Purity tape]
Dennis: Have you ever seen one of those old western flicks, you know, one of those John Wayne movies? The camera scans the prairie, there's a beautiful silence and tranquility, some cowboys are sitting around the fire sipping coffee, maybe even playing the harmonica and, all of a sudden, out in the distance you hear the sound of hooves – even beyond the horizon. Do you hear them? Wild horses, buffalo, velociraptors, even a T-Rex of two – nah, probably not, but the whole herd is galloping in a huge stampede, creating a dust storm in their wake – man!
You know, peer pressure is a lot like that. It works that way, too. As you move into your teen years, you're going to feel the need to be accepted by the herd, and you're going to feel the pressure to want to run with that herd. And the reason is, you want to feel like you're accepted; you want to feel like you're loved; you want to feel like you're somebody, and running with the herd, well, it gives us a sense that we have value; that we're a part of something.
One of the things you're going to notice as you move into your teenage years is you're going to see your friends begin to gravitate into groups. They're going to get in group that will be cool groups of cool people who are the "in" crowd. Other groups are going to be more the fringe group who want to be cool but can't quite get there. And you're going to flow into a group, too, and you're going to be fully aware of what group you're in.
Now, the reason this herd concept is so powerful among teens is because most teenagers, well, they enter into these years feeling inferior. I'll never forget one parent describing to me what happened to her when she went into her adolescent years. She said, "To begin with, I was shy, and becoming a teenager made me feel like I was invisible, a non-person with no identity. I didn't know what to say, what to do, I felt clumsy, and so," she said, "as a result, my peers became my mirror. They told me who I was. They set my guidelines, they defined my standards, taught me how to live, encouraged me in the choices that I made. And you know what happened? As I ran with the herd," she said, "I lost my identity to that herd."
And, you know, that's why I selected the core verse for our weekend together, Colossians 1:18, because if you don't set Jesus Christ apart as Lord, then you're going to be tempted to run with the herd, too. Here, let's play back the core memory verse for our time together from Colossians 1:18 –
Woman: [singing] He is also head of the body; the judge, and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; so that He [unintelligible] have first place in everything. So that He [unintelligible] have first place in everything.
Dennis: I just want to remind you, Jesus Christ came to have first place in everything – did you get that – everything. That means in who you select as your friends to spend your time with. Now, I want you to turn with me to page 9 in your adventure journal, and let's talk more about peer pressure.
Letter A – what is peer pressure? I think what peer pressure is, is when friends or acquaintances begin to influence you to do what's right or to do something wrong. Peer pressure isn't necessarily good or bad. It can be either one. Proverbs 13:20 gives us a great warning – "He who walks with wise men will be wise; but the companion of fools will suffer harm." Do you hear that warning? If you spend time with wise people, you're going to be wise. If you spend time with foolish people, you're going to be a fool. That's why who you hang out with is so important.
Proverbs 29:25 also tells us "The fear of man brings a snare that he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted." A snare is a form of a trap, and there are traps being laid for you throughout your adolescent years that will seek to grab you, injure you, maim you, or even take your life. That's why the friends that you choose are going to determine the kind of life you live.
Child: Okay, five, 10 to 2 [phone rings] – I'll get it – Hello?
Caller: Problem number 12, did you get it?
Child: Well, hello to you, too.
Caller: Why does Mrs. Walden give us so much homework?
Child: I don't know, I'm just glad tomorrow's Friday.
Caller: Speaking of – want to spend the night?
Caller: Tomorrow night.
Child: I've got to ask.
Caller: Becca's coming, too, I think.
Child: Cool, well, let me go ask, okay?
Mom: Goodnight, girls.
Child: Goodnight, Mom.
Child: Goodnight, Mrs. Campbell.
Child: So, ladies what are we really going to do?
Child: I don't know, let's play Outburst.
Child: Give me a break.
Child: That game is so old.
Child: Well, I like it.
Child: I was thinking we could maybe watch a movie.
Child: What you got?
Child: Oh, I was thinking about, oh, "The Deadly Skies."
Child: Oh, cool, you've got that! Oh, Deb, Deb, this will be so cool.
Child: Yeah, I know.
Child: I remember when it came out how my parents said we shouldn't go see it. I mean, what do they know? This thing is so cool.
Child: Have you seen it?
Child: Oh, it's the best, and Andy – he's so cute in it when he saves that flight attendant.
Child: I heard they go down the elevator in that place where they fix the food, to where the luggage is, and ooohhhhhh!
Child: You guys are so weird. What do you mean? It's just a movie.
Child: So? I know you want to see it. You told me. Your parents wouldn't let you go.
Child: Yeah, and they'd be pretty made if they knew we were going to watch it now.
Child: Oh, come on, Deb, who is going to know? It's just us. Let's watch it.
Child: Where's the box?
Child: Here you go.
Child: Oh, great.
Child: Come on!
Child: Where's the popcorn?
Man: We don't have much time. This plane could go down at any minute, and if it did, I'd never be able to show you how much I care about you.
Man: Are you ready to fly higher?
Child: That's how I want to be kissed.
Child: I thought you said this was [unintelligible]. He's taking her clothes off.
Child: So? They're in love. What did you do that for?
Child: You know how big the cow my parents would have if they knew I watched that.
Child: Give me a break, Deb, it's just a movie.
Child: Turn it back on!
Child: Move, the remote won't work!
Child: Look, you want to see it! You're going to be 13 in three months, and if you're 13, nobody can say anything.
[end of taped segment]
Bob: Well, we've been listening together to Passport to Purity, the session on peer pressure, and Deborah faced a difficult decision not unlike one that many teenagers face and that our young people have got to be prepared for before they find themselves in that situation.
Dennis: And that was my daughter, Deborah, starring in that tempting spot there of – what was it called again?
Bob: "Deadly Skies."
Dennis: Well, that movie never made it off the ground, anyway.
Bob: That's bad.
Dennis: But, you know, Bob, I was listening to this, and obviously I haven't had a chance to take a son or a daughter through this, but, I got to tell you, I am so excited about making these resources available. Now, I know it's going to sound like all I'm doing is walking down airplane aisles talking to folks about our resources and tools, but I was on another plane, and I talked to a guy, and he had a 12-year-old, and I said, "Have we got a deal for you." I said, "You need to call our 800 number, and you need to get this resource." I said, "Your son – you guys will have a great time together."
Bob: You know, I'm talking to three other dads about getting away here in a month or so with their boys. We thought if it's four dads and four sons all going away together.
Dennis: Some male bonding?
Bob: Well, it gives you an opportunity, as a dad, to ask the whole group a question that your son might squirm with, but the whole group could interact around, and we just thought it would be a great opportunity for some fun, some fellowship, some relationship building but also to take them through this material, and we're looking forward to that getaway.
Dennis: So the idea is that you can get away and have plenty of time so you can play each of these tapes during the five sessions and complete the weekend over a Friday night, all day Saturday, and then come home after dinner on Saturday night.
Bob: You know, you've got to – you're stuck in the 90s. You've got to quit calling them tapes, they are CDs, all right, and this gives you a great opportunity – you not only talk about peer pressure on the weekend but you talk about growing up and your body changing as you move through adolescence. Barbara talks to the young ladies in Passport to Purity about how their bodies change during adolescence. There is one session where you talk about the whole issue of sexual purity, which is really a step ahead of where many in the Christian community are talking today. It's not just being virgins when you get married, but it's being morally pure.
Dennis: A lot of people, Bob, think that a 10-, 11-, 12-year-old, 13-year-old, that's much too young to be asking these questions. Well, I want to tell you something – after 11 years in that Sunday school class, I became convinced that sixth grade is not too young. In fact, the best kind of defense is a good offense, is taking the ball and playing offense and not just playing defense. And that's what a lot of parents do and, Bob, in fact, this whole weekend is designed to give the ball to the parents and let the parent play offense all weekend in preparing their young person for adolescence.
Bob: And this really is an issue that we can't just back out of and say, "Well, it will take care of itself," because what we're doing if we do that, is we're letting the culture decide the values and the morals and the standards that our kids are going to have. We're letting their peer group have the decision, we're letting the entertainment industry have the decision, and you can look around, and you can see those are not the kinds of standards you want your children to have. So, as a parent, you've got to play offense, as you said, and we've tried to make it easier for you to play offense and create a great experience for you and your son or you and your daughter to have together as you work through this issue.
We have had, really, tens of thousands of our listeners who have gone on one of these Passport to Purity weekends, and the letters we've gotten back, we've got a lot of e-mails back from listeners who have talked about their weekend together – just got one recently from a dad who wrote and said, "Last week my son and I took our weekend getaway for the Passport to Purity session. I'm a father of four, I work a full-time job, I do odd jobs occasionally on the weekend, and I'm a full-time student working – doing clinicals for a nursing degree. I felt like I just didn't have time for this. In fact, the Passport box sat on my nightstand for six months. But I had a one-week break in my school last week and several weeks prior I had begun to listen to the CDs and decided I needed to take my son on this getaway.
So I reserved a cabin up in north Georgia, scheduled a whitewater rafting trip for Saturday afternoon, had my wife make sure I had everything I needed, because she's the one who bought the Passport to Purity resource in the first place, I wrote an invitation to my son, we left on a Friday afternoon. Of course, the trip took longer than we expected. We wound up staying up 'til 1, but we stayed on track, and my son woke up at 8 the next morning – a miracle – enthusiastic. We tackled the hard subjects. The rafting was great, but even greater was the time, the conversation with my 13-year-old son. He really enjoyed it and eagerly awaited each project but probably the most amazing thing was what he told my wife the next morning. He said, "Mom, that was the best time I've ever had."
Now, if you can have that kind of a weekend with your son or your daughter and get them ready for what's ahead, that's what we want to encourage you to do, and we've got the resource here to help make it happen.
You can go to our website, FamilyLife.com, and in the middle of the screen you'll see a button that says "Go." When you click on that "Go" button, it will take you right to the page where there is more information about Passport to Purity. You can order the resource online, if you'd like. There is also information about other resources related to this subject that are available from us here at FamilyLife, and you can see the comments of other parents who have taken their children on a Passport to Purity weekend as well.
Again, go to the Web, FamilyLife.com, click the "Go" button in the middle of the screen and order one of these Passport to Purity kits. We'll get it sent out to you so that you're all set for your own weekend with your son or your daughter. Of if you'd prefer to order by phone you can call us at 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY, that's 1-800-FLTODAY, and someone on our team can make sure that you get this resource sent out to you.
Let me encourage you, too, when you do get in touch with us, someone may ask you if you'd like to make a donation to the ministry of FamilyLife Today. We're listener-supported, and we try to work to create these resources and create this radio program to help you strengthen your marriage and build a stronger family, and we are supported in those efforts by folks just like you who make donations from time to time to the ministry of FamilyLife Today. We appreciate your financial support, we couldn't be here doing this without you.
This month, if you are able to help with a donation of any amount to our ministry, you can request a thank you gift from us. It's a CD that features an hour-long conversation with Elyse Fitzpatrick on the subject of food and eating. She is the author of a book called "Love to Eat, Hate to Eat," and we shared this interview on our program a while back, and many of you responded favorably, said it was very helpful, and we want to make the CD available to you this month, if you are able to help us with a donation of any amount to the ministry of FamilyLife Today.
You can donate online, if you'd like, at FamilyLife.com. If you do, when you fill out the donation form, and you come to the keycode box, you just need to type the word "eat" into that little box, and that way we'll know to send you the CD, or call 1-800-FLTODAY to make a donation and, again, mention you'd like the CD we were talking about on the radio, and we'll be happy to send it out to you. And let me say thanks again for your financial support of this ministry.
Well, tomorrow we want to hear a portion of the talk for girls that is found in Passport to Purity as your wife Barbara sits down across the table from a pre-adolescent girl and starts giving her the straight scoop on all of the changes that are taking place.
Dennis: I just want our listeners to know of all the things we've ever taped in this broadcast room, nothing caused me to sweat bullets – and my wife usually does not perspire.
Bob: I want to get it straight, though, your wife perspired but you sweat, right?
Dennis: Oh, man, absolutely.
Bob: I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. And we want to thank the creative director for Passport to Purity, Mark Whitlock, for all his work on this project. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. I hope you will join us back here tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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