Just take a Moment to Think

Ian - Berkeley, California
Entered on January 29, 2009

A long time ago, when I was I kindergarten, I had a good friend by the name of Brendan. He was big and strong and all the girls liked him. Exactly all the things I wish I was. You could say that I got a certain level of status hanging out with him. Whenever the teacher needed something moved she would ask us to do it, because we were the “strong boys”. We were always in the most fun games where there were limited roles so only a few people could play. Pretty much, we were the coolest boys in the class.

Now, I am not the kind of person that attracts that kind of attention. I was a very shy boy. I would always hide behind my mom’s back when I was meeting someone new and I didn’t really know how to be charming and likeable. Brendan was my lifeline to the highlife. (The highlife in kindergarten that is).

This made me vulnerable to him. I would do anything he said, especially if he threatened me with the old “I won’t be your friend anymore”. That phrase had me on my knees begging for forgiveness.

There was one particular moment that I remember when we were going to dig ditches and cover them up with sticks and leaves so the girls would fall in them. I thought this was mean and I was pretty sure it wasn’t allowed so I started to run off to get a teacher. I had just taken a few steps when he called after me “I won’t be your friend anymore”. That froze me in my tracks. Should I go along with Brendan? Did I value our friendship that much? Or should I do what I think is right and go tell a teacher? I went with Brendan and ever after I was pretty much a slave to him. I did whatever he wanted.

Probably the worst abuse of this power over me was when he convinced me to steal. I don’t know why, but his parents had been talking to him about taxes and he thought that we should do our part and help our parents to pay the taxes. He had thought it out and decided the easiest way would be to steal some of the toys from kindergarten and go home and sell them.

I really did not want to do this and was unusually resistant but in the end he had me convinced. I took the toys and stuck them in my lunch box not really knowing what I would do with them. Of course my parents found out while unpacking my lunch. They made me feel so bad that I wanted to crawl under a rock and when I came back out the whole day would be magically redone. Of course that was not the case. The next day I returned the toys and tried to forget the whole thing.

I was pushed into stealing that toy and really, I had no idea what would happen. The only thing that was clear to me was that what I was doing was bad, plain and simple. When I first started this essay, I had no idea what I believed in. I didn’t really have any beliefs, but as I recalled this incident I realized that I believe in thinking your decisions through. Now whenever I decide something, I ask myself whether it really is the right thing to do. Whether it is really what I would do and not something that someone else pushed me into. This principle has kept me on the strait and narrow so far in my life and I can only hope it will keep doing so.