Peer Pressure in the BB

Posted on 12-Sep-2013

Featured write up by Lance Corporal Nathan Chan of 10th Kuala Lumpur

 September 12th, 2013

According to Wikipedia, peer pressure is “influence that a peer group, observers or individual exerts that encourages others to change their attitudes, values, or behaviours to conform the group norms.”

In other words, peer pressure is the way people around you affect your choices. But don’t get me wrong, peer pressure can be good! It could be wanting to out-do others (in a healthy, good-spirited manner) at an awards test or working in a team at a project against another. Despite its negative connotations, peers pressure also has it’s positive sides. 

Whether you like it or not, peer pressure is unavoidable. It exists almost everywhere, from your school, family, neighbors, church or BB company, peer pressure is present in some form, good or bad. As social beings, we are pressured to conform to a set of sets of norms, being “programmed” via the socialisation process (and peer pressure) to know what is acceptable and what isn’t. It is shown through our education system which teaches us that scoring high marks is good and in the BB, that commitment, loyalty, leadership and so many other values are rewarded in a display of promotion by officers, further endorsed by trust and respect from other peers. Discouraged habits are often dissuaded through forms of punishment, or in the "simplest" way - no promotion.  

Of course, there is also the “bad” peer pressure, such as being pressured to have the most expensive phone, branded clothing, “taking sides” with friends and generally feeling the need to be bigger, better, GRANDER than everyone else. With the wrong crowd, you can also be pressured to smoke, drink excessively and basically be a rebel. In the quest to settle our little insecurities, we try to find acceptance and closure by bowing down to the expectations of others. This is superficial and narrow-minded. That being said, some of us realise the contradictions, in a sense of being pressured to do things we may not necessary agree with or even like doing in the first place, and may be strong-willed enough not to conform to these pressures, though more often we just “go along with it” to feel belonged to the group at large. The implications of this can be good or bad – depending on the type of peers we mix around with.

When The Boy’s Brigade was conceived, our Founder adopted the motto, “Sure and Stedfast”. This refers to the promise we have as Christians, a reminder that we will be kept firm, as long as we keep the faith. Even if everything else contradicts or says otherwise, this promise we have was, is, and always will be constant no matter what. This is also how we should ideally be like when under negative peer pressure - uncompromising.

Note that I used the word “ideally”. Being steadfast at such a level is nearly impossible - I myself often fall victim to such kinds of peer pressure. Perhaps the best way to prevent peer pressure is to disassociate oneself with the particular group.

In the BB, one of the goals are to teach members how to counter peer pressure. For instance, there have been times during a drill session when the commander would shout false commands on purpose. Usually, if the error in the command is subtle, most of the drillers would miss the error and execute the command anyway. In such cases, the remaining few are subjected to massive peer pressure. Some faltered and comply with the rest - despite knowing it is "wrong". Others, usually the older ones, stand fast and do not. Surely, it reaches a point one must question - are we following simply for the sake of following?

If you placed yourself in such a situation, which group do you think you would fall under? Would you follow the rest? Or would you stand up against such a force called peer pressure? This is something people, regardless of age, need to figure out and make sense of throughout their lives. Hopefully, one will realise to do what they know is right on their own, rather than be told.

Page created: 13th September 2013
Last updated: 13th September 2013