Editorial: Friendships shouldn’t deter your choice to join a group
For most people, it’s always a desire to feel in place and fit in. There are several groups and organizations available that one can join to be part of something. From scouting troops to teams to civic organizations, there are a number of ways to be a member of society. The one thing I’d like to talk about today is not to let your friends influence your decision to be involved with a group or organization.
This editorial came to mind as part of a two-fold event. The first point I look back is when I was a high school student and I decided I wanted to be different with my decision for a higher education. As many of my classmates elected to go to local colleges in the area, I chose to continue my studies at Old Dominion University. It was a leap of faith as only an older cousin (a senior at the time at the school) was the only one from my school to be enrolled there. I wanted to shed some of my past experiences and get a fresh start in a new environment and meet new friends. That was something I cherish to this day.
The second point is my role as an athletic director. When interacting with students, I continue to push students to participate in a sport or academic field. I do not force them to participate, but rather, try to inspire them to give it a try. One of the many responses that a student doesn’t participate is because their friend isn’t participating. That’s where my commentary comes in.
I want kids, students, and adults to remember that the choice to be in an organization is that of your own. While others may encourage you, they do not have the ultimate say so in the event. If your friend is the reason you are or aren’t participating in a group, then that’s not a true friend. A true friend will encourage you even if he or she is not part of that group. If you are a student playing a sport and want to play, but your friend doesn’t want you to, is that going to make you happy? If you’re an adult who wants to join a group like the Ruritan Club because you want to give back and your friend says it costs too much money, do you sacrifice your relationship because of their opinion?
Teams and organizations were created to build up our community and each other, not to bring us down. They should not be used as a device or an excuse to break a friendship up, but should be used to encourage them to become stronger. A true friendship requires a genuine connection and appreciation for one another, despite the differences that each person has. That’s what makes us unique individuals.
In conclusion, don’t wait until something is successful before you join in with that team or organization. Be a part of the change towards the positive. If you’re lucky enough, that friend will see your happiness and may want to experience it for his or herself.