Following the Shepherd

Brice - Edwardsville, Illinois
Entered on February 24, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe we as people let others determine how we do in life. When I

was growing up in Chicago as a preteen I always heard my parents talking about

the importance of being my own person. Now, we can all certainly relate to

when we were growing up as teenagers we heard the same speeches from our

parents. For instance, “Why do you let your friends influence you to do

badly?” Or, “Why do you walk around with your pants below your butt?” One of

my favorites, “Be a leader not a follower.” For 16 years I have heard the same

sayings over and over, but each time my parents spoke to me I refused to

listen to them. I never took my parents advice; I never stopped to wonder why

I needed to stand above the so called “herd” of my peers in high school. It

took my 17th birthday to change my belief of how others influenced me, but it

took me 18 years to put my plan for changing myself into action. I believe the

reason it took me so long to make this necessary change was due to two

factors. The first factor blocking my change was the fact that I again had let

my peers around me shape how I had lived my life. The second was the fact that

I was a teenager and I did what most teenagers do when they are my age. I

chose to not listen to my parents. The two factors above were the reasons why

my belief and change took so long to happen.

My parents always told me two things: to focus on school and not to

let others affect how I do in school. As all teenagers chose to do when

parents say something I was no exception. I took in the advice of my parents

and let it go through my ears. As my high school years quickly passed I began

to kick myself for not taking my parent’s advice while it was being given to

me. From freshman year of high school and on I struggled to catch up with my

friends so I could graduate on time. I was a follower in a pool of freshman

followers and it was only at the end of my sophomore year that I realized I

let my peers dictate my success not only in school, but in life.

High school to me seemed like a second home to me and my peers where

my mother and my father. Everything anyone of my peers ever told me I listened

to. If my pants fit I was told by my peers to get some pants that were loose.

In other words I was taught the way to wear my clothes. I listened to all of

what my peers had to say all the way till I got my first hard lesson. I

remember it was a late spring afternoon and I had a book bag loaded with

homework. My parents told me to complete my work before I did anything else so

I pulled out my homework and got started. As I started the phone began to ring

so I picked it up. I hear my name “Brice” as I hesitate to answer. I soon

realize that it is my buddy Mike so I say hello back. The next thing I know I

here, “Brice, it’s your pal Mike. Do you want to go to a party with me

tonight?” Before I knew it my lips were saying yes faster than my head was

saying no. I had gone from being at home studying to going to my friend Mike’s

house. The blazing lights heat my eyes as I had entered the party scene. All I

here is “Brice you made it come goof off with us.” I didn’t even questions why

I had chosen to come to the party over doing what was right, my homework. By

the end of that night I regretted ever going to Mike’s party

because I had a test the next day and failed it. I learned that being my own

person is the most important things because if I am not my own person I will

let others lead me. Others leading me may ultimately cost me the things I want

out of life.

In the end I learned the lesson that would forever be my belief. I

learned that if I give people power that they will eventually play an

influence on whether I do well in school or not. Looking back on that past

event I can now say that we as people can go from being the Sheppard to being

the sheep if we let ourselves go down that road.