Students will be reminded that unwise choices in friendships can influence them in negative ways.
Think about the last time you considered doing something you knew was a bad idea . . . and then did it anyway. Don’t worry, you don’t have to say what you did. Just think about it.
What motivated you to make your bad decision? What part did peer pressure from another person—maybe even one of your friends—play in your bad decision? (Answers will vary, but most students will acknowledge that peer pressure had a lot to do with their bad decision. Be prepared to share about a bad decision/peer pressure experience when you were young.)
People make bad decisions for all sorts of reasons. Maybe we don’t any know better. Maybe we’re in a bad mood. But often, we do dumb things because of what our friends will think. Maybe you think you’re too smart for that, but chances are, you probably made a crummy decision because of peer pressure in the past week. All of us have—even supposedly “mature” adults!
Why do you think people give in to peer pressure? (Essentially, we want others to like us.)
There’s nothing wrong with wanting people to like us. However, winning cool points is never worth betraying your values.
We’re going to watch a hidden camera video where a teen tempts two of his friends to shoplift. Even worse, he wants them to steal alcohol. As you know, teens can’t even drink alcohol, so stealing it means making two bad decisions at once. Let’s see what happens when a teen guy named Mike applies peer pressure to his friends. Show your students the following video clip, stopping it at [2:52] when the host says “Thanks for watching.” Everything after that is an advertisement for other videos.
SHOPLIFTING SOCIAL EXPERIMENT (Pranks 2017)
Who do you relate to more in the video, the first guy who gave into Mike’s peer pressure, or the second guy who stood up to it? Why? (Accept all reasonable answers. Most of your students will probably want to believe they would be able to make their own choices and not be swayed by a friend.)
Most of us want to think we’re the second guy. We’re strong; we’ll never give into peer pressure! Hopefully that’s true. But remember, most of us already admitted earlier that we’ve made lousy choices because of what others think. That’s why the Bible warns us to be careful when we choose our friends.
It could be that you’re just as strong as the second guy. But then again, you might have an off day and bend under the pressure. It’s better to avoid temptation in the first place by choosing your friends wisely.
Ask King Solomon. He began as a ruler who was committed to following God. At the end of his life, however, other people led him to make some really lousy decisions. Let’s read about it in the Book of 1 Kings.
Looking for Steps 2 & 3?
You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide; your Step 4 appears below. To purchase a teacher's guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes
Remember the video we watched at the beginning of the lesson, where a teen guy named Mike pressured his friends into stealing booze? I want you to imagine that instead of being a bad influence in the clip, Mike talked his friends into doing something good!
Never mind shoplifting. Mike could’ve said, “Why don’t we buy some snacks and give them to the homeless guy who was standing outside the store?” Or maybe, “Tomorrow at school, how about if we invite that kid who everybody thinks is a freak to sit at our lunch table?”
Have you heard of positive peer pressure? In your own words, what does it mean? (It’s using your influence with your friends for good instead of evil.)
What are some things that Mike could have said to his friends to use positive peer pressure? (Accept all reasonable answers. If students aren’t sure what to say, remind them of the examples above—buying snacks for a homeless person or including a classmate who feels left out.)
All of us have the ability to influence other people. However, we’re like Spiderman: we have to decide whether to use our powers for good or evil. Maybe I can convince my friend to shoplift with me, but that’s a pretty crummy way to use my influence. Couldn’t I convince him to help another person instead? Building wise friendships doesn’t always mean finding new friends. Sometimes, you just need to be wiser with the friendships you already have!
Hand each student an index card and a writing utensil. I want you to think of a friend or family member—someone you know well and who will listen to what you say. Write her name at the top of your card.
Now, think of something that the two of you can do together to help other others. Don’t make it a huge project, like feeding all the hungry people in the world. It should be “bite-sized,” like helping a teacher after school or sending encouraging texts to a classmate who’s having a rough life. Give your students a chance to think and write. Then ask for a few volunteers to share by asking this question:
What are some things you could do with your friend to help someone out? (Accept all reasonable answers. Students’ responses should be similar to the examples in the paragraph above—in other words, keep them “bite-sized.”)
Those are good ideas! All of them would be great ways to positively influence a friend or friends to help others. This week, see if you can put your plan into practice. Use positive peer pressure to do something cool with your friend.
Remember, it is important to be aware that you can be influenced—for bad or for good. Keep an eye out for ways your friends and acquaintances might try to influence you in a negative way. Stand strong and use your influence for good—that’s our goal this week!
Close in prayer.
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