Putting the perception of others over our own values can often lead us down a slippery slope. At a young age, Teiji Futamase learned a valuable lesson in trusting your instincts and the importance of family.
What would you do if your loved one needed your support — but you let peer pressure get the best of you?
I remember a sunny warm day in second grade when I learned a lesson I’d never forget. Life was simple back then, just hanging out with friends and almost never having homework. As a kid, waiting for recess was my biggest worry. The ring that reminds every student that recess has just begun and it was time to play had rung. I smiled and ran as fast as I could out the door while holding my lunch bag and couldn’t wait until I was seated eating my snack. I played with my friends as usual, but when it ended I spotted something unusual. My friends and I were walking back to class when I spotted my little brother in kindergarten crying on a bench. I became astonished and immediately wanted to help him but something was holding me back from helping him.
That thing was embarrassment. I knew comforting him was the right thing to do, but I was so worried about what my friends would think of me if I were to go over there. I didn’t want to embarrass myself so instead, I made the decision to just ignore him and stay with my friends. This decision would be the most regretful decision of my life and one I wished I didn’t make. At that time I felt so worried about my friends’ thoughts and if they would make fun of me for helping my little brother. I worried about it so much that it consumed the part of me that did want to ask what happened and how I can help. I felt so ashamed of myself for just ignoring and leaving my younger brother alone when I knew that he needed or would have liked my company at that time.
Now, years from then, I realize that many people also struggle with the pressure of how others think of them and let it control their actions like it did to me. Do not let others' opinions stop you from doing the right thing or complicate your actions. In reality, most people aren’t focused on them and the opinions of those who are shouldn’t matter to you anyway. On that day in second grade, I learned this lesson and realized I shouldn’t value anyone’s judgment over my loved ones.
With a Perspective, I’m Teiji Futamase.
Teiji Futamase is an eighth-grader at Leonard Herman Intermediate School in San Jose. His piece was produced with free curriculum from KQED’s Perspectives Youth Media Challenge.