The 2007-2008 school year will be starting soon! I want to give you students an important piece of advice: choose your friends wisely!
“Show me a man’s friends and I’ll tell you who he is”
I’m not sure who authored this quote, but I agree with it. When I think back to my student days I realize that my friends had a tremendous influence over me. They influenced who I was and how I behaved (good or bad). When I think about “high points” or “low points” in my life, a lot of it has to do with who I surrounded myself with at the time.
One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Psalm 1. Here’s how it starts:
God blesses those people
who refuse evil advice
and won’t follow sinners
or join in sneering at God.
-Psalm 1:1 (Contemporary English Version)
Let’s also look at what Jesus did as he began his public ministry:
Then he chose twelve of them to be his apostles, so that they could be with him. . . .
-Mark 3:14 (Contemporary English Version)
One of the first things Jesus did was to choose his barkada.* Jesus was know for associating with “sinners,” yet he carefully chose his “inner circle”—those he would spend most of his time with. I find it interesting that they were chosen so they could “be with him.” Yes, they would be taught and trained, but they would also be his friends. Jesus, in fact, would later call them his friends (see John 15:13-15)
This importance of friendship is especially true for students/teenagers. For my student readers, I want you to know that choosing good friends is more important now than it ever will be. Right now you are especially vulnerable to the influence of your friends (I think this is especially true for Filipinos, who are naturally family/group oriented). I’ve seen students do interesting things in order to please their friends. Some fraternities will brawl over who gets to sit on a certain part of campus. Some activist groups will spend more time protesting the school dress code than studying. Think carefully before joining a barkada, group or organization!
This new school year means new beginnings. You’ll have opportunities to make new friends and reconnect with old ones. Choose wisely! When you choose your friends, you are indirectly choosing your own habits, character, and destiny.
*For my non-Filipino readers, I’ll attempt to explain “barkada.” This word is a beautiful Filipino concept with no exact English translation. It is a cultural, social friendship group in Filipino culture. Virtually all Filipinos (especially students) are part of a barkada—a group of friends that they associate with and spend time with.
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