This I Believe

Niels - Portland, Oregon
Entered on September 20, 2007

I Believe

I believe that friends can either make or break you. My family and I have moved about every five years and I have had to make new friends every time we moved. My mother has programmed me to “choose my friends carefully” knowing what kind of influence that they would have on me. With that in mind, I have always started off looking for friends that had the same standards, interests, hopes and dreams as I did. I believe they have helped build me and make me who I am today.

When I was just a kid in elementary school, my best friend was my cousin Kolby. We would do everything together, probably because we lived next to each other on a large farm in Idaho without another kid our age for at least a mile. Because he was extended family, they had the same standards, hopes, and dreams and we did. When we moved, Kolby made new friends that did not have the same standards. He did not think those kind of things were a priority because his new friends were fun and exciting to be around. When he got into middle school their type of fun was drinking and doing drugs, and when he got into high school it was being immoral. They were so much fun that education became less and less important, to the point that they started failing all their classes. It was not until his parents moved and made him make new friends with higher standards that his life began turning around.

Every time we moved, my parents made sure we lived in a neighborhood where there were lots of youth in the church we went to. My parents were very active in their church and encouraged me to make friends with the kids that were there. Those kids almost always had high moral values and seem to be education oriented. I always felt blessed to have friends that were fun and at the same time never felt tempted to do drugs, alcohol, or be immoral. I have never had friends that did not have the same standards as me and consequently I have never had to go through the pains of addiction. My friends have always been there to support and encourage me. They are the type of friends that would be there no matter what.

As I get older my friends seem to have more of an influence in my life. They have influenced me to be charitable, kind, fun loving, progressive, and to want to be the best that I can be. I have seen great kids that had high standards get involved in the wrong crowd thinking they were strong enough, yet almost always falling to the low standards of the group. I have also experienced what it is like to be associated with friends with high standards and the influences of that. I have experienced how friends can make of break you and I believe that this has been the most important choice of my life.