You will read the following imaginary scenario aloud to students.
Imagine that you were running a few minutes late to class today. After all, sometimes it can be really hard to get up in the morning! Now imagine you came into class, sat down, and found a blank piece of paper on the table in front of you.
You look around and notice that your neighbors have all written the word “APPLE” at the tops of their papers in big, bold letters. The class is in the middle of a discussion, and you don’t want to interrupt the teacher to ask what you should do with your piece of paper.
- How would you feel walking into the classroom and seeing that you’d missed the instructions for what to do with your piece of paper? (Answers will vary.)
- How would you decide what to do with your piece of paper? (Answers will vary.)
Discuss with your students how they might have responded in that situation.
- Raise your hand if you think you would’ve written “apple” on your paper. Why? (Answers will vary; students may share that they didn’t want to be left out, or they may have assumed that writing on the paper was the right thing to do.)
- Raise your hand if you think that you would have left your paper blank. Why? (Answers will vary; students may have wanted instructions from the teacher, they didn’t want to do the wrong thing.)
This is an example of peer pressure. If you came late to class, you would’ve had to decide what to do. You wouldn’t be sure what everyone else had done with their papers or whether you should do the same.
Peer pressure is a feeling that someone (or a group) is pushing you to make a certain choice, good or bad. When you see people around you doing something, we often can find ourselves wanting to do the same thing—or feeling like we should be doing the same thing. We feel pressure to fit in with our peers. Sometimes peer pressure results in us doing the wrong thing, but peer pressure can be positive as well if what we are following is beneficial. Peer pressure can also result in us doing things that don’t really make sense, but we do them anyway because we want to fit in.
Isn’t it amazing how quickly we decide to join in with those around us? Sadly, there are plenty of situations in life when we see others doing things that aren’t right, and still we want to join in and follow the crowd. In our Bible study today, the people of Israel are faced with the reality of peer pressure. They saw something that other nations around them had, and they wanted it too. Let’s find out what the people of Israel decided to do, and how peer pressure affected them.