Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Breaking Free: Did I have the courage to go against the tide?

As told to Elky Pascal

Peer pressure. I learned what that meant when I entered high school. It was the end of ninth grade and I was filled with pre-camp jitters. I wanted to do everything right. I wanted to have a perfect summer. I want to fit in so, so badly. That was the thought that consumed me during the long and exhausting shopping trips with my mother.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

broken chain“These T-shirts are nice, Temima” said my mother walking toward a large display of colored T-shirts.

I sighed. Yes, technically they were fine. But those weren’t the ones I wanted; I wanted the ones that all my friends would be wearing. I wanted to be part of the “in crowd.” But how would I explain that to my mother?

“They’re okay … I guess,” I said. But then I pointed to the ones I really wanted — from a display at the other corner of the store. “But I like these so much better,” I said.

Now it was my mother who sighed — when she glanced at the price tag. The T-shirts I wanted were triple the price of the T-shirts that she had picked out! In the end we compromised and got a few of each. My mother wasn’t thrilled, but finally gave in — she realized this was important to me, and they were completely tzniyusdig too.

I hardly slept the night before camp; I was terribly nervous. I woke up early on the first day of camp and dressed carefully. My hair was carefully blown — not a hair out of place — my T-shirt had an alligator on it, and my sweatshirt sported a “J” on the zipper. I looked just right. I hoped.

I looked in the mirror and my conscience piped up. Since when do you care about brand names? Last summer you couldn’t care less … How had I gotten swept into the peer pressure? How had I become a follower of the latest trends?



Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"