I recently convinced my husband and a couple of my friends to join me in attending the local high school football game. I live close enough to the school that I can usually hear the game from my back porch, but something in me wanted to experience it up close. Maybe it’s because I love high school students. Maybe I wanted to take a trip down memory lane. I’m not exactly sure why I wanted to go, but I did, and I’m so glad.
As we casually strolled in, I witnessed the overly enthusiastic girls greet each other as if they hadn’t seen each other for months, when you knew it had only been a few hours. I saw different “types” of kids from the super school-spirited all decked out in the school colors to the “alternative” kids with their army green khaki shorts and tight dark tee shirts. We eventually sat down, and we ended up picking a spot near the band, which I was happy about because, being a band kid myself, I wanted to watch them and hear their tunes.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because as I sat there and attempted to soak it all in, I realized something tremendous: not much has changed since I was in high school almost 10 years ago. While some of that is good, the things that haven’t changed and aren’t so good is that, in high school, it seems like differences between people are so magnified that people only know how to be friends with others who are just like them. And if you’re not in the “popular” crowd (which is most likely the football players, cheerleaders, and anyone else who is drop dead gorgeous, rich, or both) then you can end up feeling less than important because these are the people the entire school looks up to, although nobody can really pinpoint why.
One of the reasons why I don’t have entirely fond feelings for high school is because I felt like I wasn’t cool enough a lot of the time. Sure I had plenty of friends and I participated in a lot of different and fun activities, but I still bought into the lie that, since I wasn’t in the cool group, I wasn’t cool. Then, I went to a small Christian college and my self-esteem skyrocketed because, there, everyone was in the cool crowd! It didn’t matter what you looked like, how you dressed, or what you drove, if you went to my school, you were not only accepted, but you were liked! What a breath of fresh air!
What’s the difference? The main difference would have to be that my college was Christian, so the people who made others feel accepted were for the most part, Christ seeking. However, what I think really made the difference beyond that is that those kids realized that we needed to let go of this “cool crowd” mentality and see people as awesome for who they are. I’m not trying to sound like an after school special here, but you really can find the awesomeness in people who are different from you if you just give them a chance.
I really want to encourage you as my brothers and sisters to let go of this “who’s popular and who’s not” thinking and become an example in your school by not judging yourself compared to what the rest of your peers think is “cool” and by not judging others on that same principle.
It goes without saying that Jesus did not follow the cool crowd, and He is our perfect example to follow. I challenge you to look beyond what society tells you to look at. Who knows? Maybe in 10 years you’ll find yourself at a high school football game, but you’ll also see the need for a much-needed change!