“OH MY WORD! You’ve GOT to try this!” my friend exclaimed as she shoved a piece of dried fruit in my face. I took a tentative nibble. “Isn’t that the absolute best dried prune you’ve ever tasted?” Actually I thought it tasted like moist cardboard. I cringed because I knew what was coming. The Sales Pitch. “It’s from the Organic Co-op that I’m a member of. You can order all your food online and they deliver it right to your house! This box of prunes only cost TEN DOLLARS!”
I really don’t like bandwagons. I’ve blogged about them before. Having a friend who is constantly trying to convince you that her personal choices are the best and that YOU should do whatever she is doing is absolutely exhausting to me. You never know whether she is inviting you over for dinner or for a time-share sales pitch. Whatever is popular or cool or “in” at the time is what your friend is peddling. It’s an adult form of peer pressure.
Once I had a friend try to sell me a make-up system that would only cost me $75 a month. I told her that I don’t have an extra $75 a month. I’m the girl who buys 99-cent eyeliner. She turned up the pressure, “But don’t you think you deserve it?” Get thee behind me Satan!
It doesn’t matter if it’s a make-up system or a co-op membership or a trendy new church or Trader Joe’s, I don’t do bandwagons. And I don’t appreciate being manipulated with guilt either, nobody does. I make the decisions I make for real reasons. Nothing in my life is on autopilot. I am very deliberate in the choices I make, always peering into the future for signs of where this road will take me.
Sometimes my choices are motivated by simple reasons like we have no money for that.
And sometimes my reasoning is not typical, but I’m OK with that. For example, when we were raising funds to go to Mexico City we read about several schools that were available to us. We talked to a lot of people, some with children in those schools. On paper, The American School looked like a smart choice. It offered International Baccalaureate (IB) classes, foreign languages and college prep classes. It had a science lab and a computer lab. It had a fully equipped athletic program that competed on a national level. It looked great on paper.
But when we got to Mexico City and started talking to Mexicans we discovered that The American School is where all the rich diplomats’ kids and the drug-lord kids go to school. Big red flags for us. We know that schools produce more than a diploma. They produce character too. We didn’t want our kids developing a sense of entitlement and a materialistic, snobby attitude by mingling with friends who fly to Miami to go shopping each weekend. Neither did we want them going over to play at the homes of drug-lords. In the end we chose a small, Christian school (with no big ticket frills) that supported our family values and where the teachers prayed over the kids every day. That was more important to us than a great track and field program or a diploma with a popular name on it.
We made our choice based on the outcome we wanted. We want to create a certain kind of person with our children, and that means we don’t always make the same choices as everyone else. And we’re OK with that. All we ask is that our friends respect our decisions and not shove their bandwagon memberships in our face. As a family we march to the beat of our own drum. We don’t like organic prunes and we don’t do bandwagons.