What is your preferred learning style? Visual? Auditory? Experiential (aka hands-on)?
Despite what you may think your style is, how humans really learn anything is from observing another person - usually an authority figure or someone deemed more popular and knowledgeable - or, as we used to say when I was growing up: “Monkey see, monkey do.”
No matter what behaviour or action a person exhibits, they have seen another person do the same thing at least once. Which is why you have to be so careful around young children as they notice everything and mimic everything.
Parents, teachers, and community members express concern about children and peer pressure - and it is a valid concern - however, I believe that peer pressure is much worse for adults, because we feel we are immune due to our maturity.
But think about this for a moment...if we learn our behaviour and actions predominately from observing those around us - what are we observing and then acting out?
Look around you...how many of the people you interact with daily have similar habits? The habits can be benign such as stopping for take-out coffee on the way to work, or more serious such as speeding down the highway to keep up with the traffic.
Bad news sells and our electronic devices bombard us 24/7 with bad news, which is perpetuated over and over and over again. Watch the news on Monday evening and you’ll probably see the same stories on Friday’s news. And that repeated exposure just reinforces the legitimacy of the behaviours - even illegal ones - in our psyches.
If society really wants to end wars, stop violent crimes, curb drunk driving, decrease drug usage, and other behaviours that are detrimental to health and life, then education, signage, and news stories that give perpetrators their 5 minute claim to fame aren't going to stop anything.
People need to see, on a consistent basis, people showing different behaviours and actions. It is the only way that changes can be made.
Peer pressure isn’t all bad, it can be used for good, and when it is, then we truly see great things happen in and around us.
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