Mom taught me something about individuality as I grew up, and I passed it on to my daughter. She taught me to be ME. She warned me, that as a teenager there were many influences and pressures that would bombard me such as alcohol, drugs, sex, social responsibility, and in general just being a good person. And although I was not perfect, the lessons she spoke of sunk into my brain, and became part of my personality.
So as a Father, when my Daughter became a teen, I had the talk with her. We were at Walker Park in Blytheville. I told her that she was now old enough to know right from wrong. I also told her that all her decisions from this point forward regardless if they were right or wrong in whatever life threw at her…that she should always remember the decision or path she chose must be her choice, and not from peer pressure or made just to fit in with the crowd. And that if something went wrong or there was trouble, she should be willing to accept the whatever the consequences may be.
In other words, all her actions throughout life will have consequences whether they be good, bad or indifferent. My favorite phrase to Tracy was that she should always “march to the beat of her OWN drum“.
I am a FIRM believer in that quote. We should all march to the beat of our OWN drum. For those friends that know me well, they know that I do not succumb to peer pressure…EVER. If I do something stupid, I own it. If I go in a direction by myself instead of with a crowd, it’s a conscious decision and I can assure you that I have weighed the consequences of that decision. Sometimes I tend to over analyze, but I also study and research situations and problems I encounter so that any decision I make is an informed decision. It might not always be the right decision, but it will always be an informed one.