The Pressure to Conform

You know, it's always been interesting for me to observe the "herd" instinct in teenagers around the world.

There's just a remarkable sameness to their culture today, no matter where you go.

In Australia, in Russia, in Latin America, and the United States, adolescents tend to dress in similar ways and hold common attitudes, even their graffiti scrawled on bridges and buildings has a similar look to it. And why not? They're watching some of the same movies and television shows and listening to the same music.

I'm told that some little Massai children, sitting in grass huts in Kenya, watch MTV on satellite television. So the next generation is just being homogenized by this electronic revolution occurring around the world, and sometimes the "urge to merge" becomes humorous.

Perhaps you read the newspaper story of a teen choir performing down in Miami, Florida. In the middle of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, one young woman on the front row passed out. Well, that planted the idea of fainting in 32 other impressionable heads. Minutes later, a boy buckled and disappeared from the back row. And then a girl in the middle took a dive. By the end of the song, 20 kids lay flat on the ground.

Conformity is one of the most powerful forces in the life of a teenager, and today, that impulse recognizes very few cultural or geographic boundaries.

With Focus on the Family I'm Dr. James Dobson.

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