Good evening, Dear Reader. I would like to make a case both for and against Influence as it interacts with my newfound Power of Choice.
For example: Obviously, the Influence of other people in my life will have a direct effect on my choices. However, others’ Influence should not be used as a scapegoat for my personal choices. The Power of Choice remains with me, and cannot be parted from me thus.
Way back in second grade, I remember it was popular to say “The Devil made me do it,” in normal, everyday conversation of…well, second-graders.
“Johnny, why did you chase Amy?”
“The Devil made me do it!”
In hindsight, because we were young enough not to know too many swear words or curses, blaming an invisible object deflected responsibility from ourselves (especially when we weren’t sure the type of attention we would receive for an action). Besides, blaming the Devil was certainly tantamount to actually cussing, therefore, we all felt very much grown up.
Truth be told, Dear Reader, I’ve often disliked the Power of Choice because it means if I am wrong, it will be on my head. I don’t like to be wrong much. Hence the dislike. But, I don’t have to let others Influence how I will choose. I can, but I don’t have to.
I’ve realized lately how much my taste in music has been Influenced this summer, what with spending time with my best friend, with my godmother, and at the radio station. I now recognize at least one hundred new songs that I didn’t know this time last year. What is it about music, that it can make and break people all over the world?? Does the music I listen to have a direct Influence on how I Choose to dress myself? how I Choose to speak? how I Choose to act? how I Choose to live? Some people think yes; it has often been promoted by these people how suicidal teenagers will kill themselves after blaring music with suggestive lyrics. Unfortunately, I have heard far too often this same story, and how the musicians of such lyrics should be ashamed of themselves for introducing these ideas at all.
Personally, I don’t think such lyrics should be made public because they are suggestive. But at the same time, I know that those lyrics sell. Friends who listen to this type of music tell me that the artist is “expressing what I feel” through the song. Regardless, it remains the sole Choice of the teenager what he will do with the suggestions he is given in any type of music to which he listens. Especially when he tells me that he prefers to “just listen to the music.” This is a mindless choice. Mindless in this sense meaning that Teenager Bob refuses to use his own grey matter, but a choice nonetheless.
In the same way, Influence (especially in music) can be a positive thing! How many times have I heard people say that they “love this song” on the radio because it makes their day better? And it is Influence that is single-handedly responsible for personality/behavioral changes in recovering addicts of various vices!
There is an Aesop’s Fable about a crane and a flock of other birds. The Crane is a nice bird, and the Farmer and his family like the bird and tell him he is welcome to their house anytime. But the flock of Birds are unkind and destroy the Farmer’s crops and his fishing net. The other Birds tell the Crane he can be in their group, and the Crane reluctantly agrees, and helps the Birds destroy crops and farming tools. The Farmer goes out to throw a net on the mischief-makers, and catches the Crane in the net. The Crane tries to plead his way out, but the Farmer tells the Crane sadly that he is the company he keeps.
It is up to the Crane to Choose how to behave: accept the kindness and friendship of a respected Farmer, or gain the acceptance and camaraderie of his peers who want nothing but trouble for others.
In short, the Devil can’t make me do a thing I don’t already choose to do. I can make my own choices and even choosing not to act is an act in itself.
Good night, Dear Reader. I hope you get a restful sleep tonight.