Alyssa (name changed) had a high standard for the types of movies she watched. Standards she'd been taught by loving parents. While living away from home and attending college, Alyssa lived with roommates, girls she had never met before moving into her apartment. Some of her first experiences with these roommates involved movie nights. Several of these young women did not share Alyssa’s movie standards and, when suggesting certain titles to watch, found she was unwilling to compromise her principles for entertainment.
Not wanting to push her beliefs on others, yet unwilling to betray her ideals, Alyssa offered to leave the room so her roommates could watch what they desired. After a short time living with Alyssa, her roommates realized her principles were unwavering and they made sure to respect her standards while in her presence.
Having the courage to stand for principles can be difficult, especially when away from home. It's important to help your kids make the commitment to live up to the values you've taught them, so they don't have to make the decision when they're on their own. Following are some ideas on how to make standing for what you believe a little easier.
When taking a stand, be sure you are passionate and fully convinced of your cause. Otherwise, when someone questions your morals it will be extremely hard, if not impossible, to stand strong for a half-believed moral code.
On the flip side, ask yourself how willing you are to stand up for your ideals. Could you be strong when someone you love and trust asks you to weaken your moral stance? Committing to your standard before it is ever questioned will make the future easier because potential indecision or hesitation will have already been mentally dealt with.
Example: If you’ve decided recreational drugs are substances you feel strongly about not allowing in your body, commit to such action now. Imagine various scenarios where you could be encouraged to use such substances and decide how you will refuse. Make sure these imagined situations involve people you care about offering the drugs and asking you to step away from you standards.
Being committed to a path can be most difficult when people we love and admire ask us to stray from it, which makes being committed beforehand even more important. If you have family members who use drugs make sure they understand that while you won’t be following the same path, that does not mean your love for them has changed in any way.
Often others will ask you to stray from your standards when they are unsure what you believe. By making your moral code obvious, your actions can tell others what the answer will be without them ever having to ask. Having the courage to be obvious about your principles can make your life much easier because others will already know where you stand.
Example: If wearing immodest clothing is something you’ve decided is against your moral code, then follow this standard at all times. Get rid of any immodest attire and only wear things that are in line with your principles. Being modest is an outward manifestation to others that you will never wear revealing attire. Make certain you are obvious in every situation: at home, school, work and all social situations. If you are modest in one place and immodest in others it will be confusing to individuals and your standards will not be clear. Be obvious about where you stand at all times.
In today’s world there are many voices loudly proclaiming that lower standards are not only okay, but preferable. Just because some people are unapologetic about their beliefs does not mean you have to be contrite over your higher standards. It is okay to have different standards from others. It is only when you apologize for such beliefs that others think your principles warrant contrition. When you boldly stand up for what you believe your self-assurance will carry over to others, signaling that your beliefs are just as important as theirs.
Example: If you’ve decided gossiping is something you will not participate in, make your home a place where the names of others are safe. Theoretically, our homes should be places of safety, but because we tend to let our guards down there, our homes can inadvertently facilitate gossip. If visitors vocalize negatives about others, unapologetically stand up for those absent individuals. Your decision to not take part in such conversations might surprise others and they could react negatively, but you should never have to apologize for having high standards. By showing friends your family will not gossip about others, they will in time come to realize you won’t gossip about them as well.
Having high standards isn’t congruous with having a “better than you” attitude. Often, people can be surprised and unsure of how to react when they experience you standing up for your beliefs. While some of their responses can be admirable, others might come across as awkward or disagreeable. Instead of judging these people harshly, give them another chance to fully understand your moral position. Often, after they’ve been given time to think about such beliefs, they will respond with respect. But even if they don’t, make sure you reciprocate kindly. Otherwise, they might view you as hypocritical.
Example: If you have made the commitment to abstain from sex until marriage it can be daunting when your significant other wants to take the relationship to the next level too soon. They may feel hurt and unloved by your rejection. However, by continuing to show them affection and explaining your beliefs, they can ultimately come to understand and respect your deep commitment.
Having the courage to stand for your principles can take time and resolve. However, it is only by standing for what you believe that you can ultimately be true to yourself.