Chapter 1 of 3 – This is a story that deals with the kind of peer pressure of someone who is always trying to borrow your things without ever paying those things back. Listen to how Jarvis learns to strengthen his ‘no muscles’ by setting firm boundaries with his possessions. Listen also how Jarvis learns the difference between the people in his life who are either users or real friends.
Peer Pressure is hard to resist
© 1999, 2014 by Debbie Dunn
Chapter 1: Introducing ‘moocher’ Mike and ‘walking mat’ Jarvis
Jarvis looked around the room. There were three minutes until the tardy bell rang. A buddy of his by the name of Mike walked up and said, "Hey, Jarvis? Can I borrow a pencil?”
Jarvis looked down at his brand new pencil. He knew he also had a little stub of a pencil left. He reached into his planner and pulled that one out. He intended to make a gift of the little stub of a pencil to his friend. But instead, Mike grabbed the brand new pencil and said, "Thanks, man."
Jarvis said, "Wait a minute. I just bought that. I was going to give you this one instead."
Mike complained, "Aw, Jarvis! I couldn't write with that little old thing."
Jarvis debated about arguing, but he was afraid of jeopardizing his friendship with Mike. Jarvis sighed and thought, “Peer pressure is so hard to resist!”
Jarvis was so afraid of angering Mike, that he didn't think about the anger he was feeling. He felt that Mike's feelings were far more important than his own. So Jarvis swallowed down his own anger and made do with that pencil stub instead.
At lunch time, Mike came up and asked, "Hey, Jarvis? Can I borrow 40¢? I'm dying for an ice cream!"
Jarvis said, “Sorry, Mike! I just have enough to get my own."
Mike complained, "Aw, Jarvis! I was counting on you, man. Please!!!"
Jarvis knew that if he gave in, not only would he not be able to buy his own ice cream, but he would never see that 40¢ again. Jarvis quickly fantasized about saying a firm no but then chickened out. Exercising his ‘no muscle’, so to speak, felt far too risky.
He thought, “What if Mike won’t be my friend anymore if I say ‘No’?” Jarvis neglected to consider the fact that the friendship was one of give, give, give on his part and take, take, take on Mike's part. Jarvis sighed and thought, “Peer pressure is so hard to resist!” So, he swallowed down his feelings of annoyance and handed over the money.
Mike smiled and said, "Thanks, man. You're the greatest!”
Mike went and bought the ice cream. Then, instead of coming back to the table and eating it in front of Jarvis, he went to another table, sat down, and started flirting with a girl he liked. He even shared a few bites of the ice cream with her. Jarvis watched from afar, feeling used and left out. Deep down inside, he knew what a user Mike was; but yet, he wasn't willing to risk losing even such a friend as he.
Another morning, while everyone waited for school to start in the gym, Mike asked, "Hey, Jarvis? Did you do that math homework?"
Jarvis said, "Yeah.” Warily he asked, "Uh, …, did you?"
Mike sighed dramatically and said, "No, I just didn't manage to get it done. Can I copy yours real quick?"
Jarvis half-heartedly said, "No, we better not."
"Aw, come on, man. I need you to bail me out," Mike pleaded.
Jarvis so badly wanted to say, "Why didn't you plan your time better and do it yourself?” He didn't because he was afraid he would sound too much like a parent. So he sighed, thinking, "Peer pressure is so hard to resist!”
Jarvis pulled out his math homework and said, "Just this once.” Of course, this hadn't been the first time, and it probably wouldn't be the last time.
Mike said, "What a friend!” Then he proceeded to spend about five minutes copying down the problems that Jarvis had spent about an hour on.
Day after day, Mike was always bumming one thing or another off of Jarvis. Jarvis found Mike's peer pressure so hard to resist that he never once managed to exercise his ‘no muscle’ enough to say ‘No’.
Then one day, Jarvis got to class and realized he didn't have a pencil. He bravely went over to Mike and asked, "Uh, Mike? I don't have a pencil. Can I borrow one, please?"
Mike said, "Sorry, Jarvis! Don't got an extra one."
Jarvis was disappointed and walked back to his desk. He realized he was going to have to see if he could borrow one from the teacher. Jarvis glanced over just in time to see Mike loaning a pretty girl an extra pencil that he just happened to have in his pocket. Jarvis felt a deep anger beginning to burn inside of him. This really showed him exactly where he stood with Mike. He bitterly thought, “Nowhere!”
- Click here to read Chapter 2 of 3 – Peer pressure is hard to resist
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