Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Teenage Politics

After South Colby, I attended John Sedgwick Junior High School and South Kitsap High School. The culture of both of these institutions had major impacts on me. My junior high school had over 1000 students and my high school was the largest in the state, with over 2600 students for just three grades. The massive sizes of my schools had a unique affect on me. In schools this big one often feels lost and insignificant. To find identity, one usually has to find a subculture within the school and cling to it. Fortunately, I quickly identified with the people from my youth group. Though not always exclusively, our youth group stayed together and tried to support each other through these difficult years.
My conversion as a process of socialization can clearly be seen in my junior high years. During these years I began to test the ideals that I was imitating from my older brother. I would experiment with sharing my faith, prayer in school, and Bible study, practices I learned from youth group and my older brother and his friends. However, I often found that actually expressing your faith in school was not very “cool” and some people even went as far as to make fun of such actions. In such a large school, there is a lot of pressure to make yourself fit in. So I was extremely hesitant in exhibiting behavior that would hinder this. So, for most of junior high school, I kept my mouth shut about Jesus, but tried to appear spiritually active while at church.
The tension between my faith and my acceptance only amplified as I entered the huge high school. At South Kitsap High, my reserved nature was met by apathy that let me fall between the cracks of the social ranks. Feeling slightly unidentified, I poured myself into my friends at youth group who became the main source of my striving for approval. Because of this my focus became appearing spiritually and academically healthy. In the midst of high school, my faith became quite stagnant. There was not much backslide in my faith, I did not take up smoking or drinking, but there was not much growth either. I joined my massive student body in the static pursuit of acceptance and conformity. This period reflects my conversion as a process of socialization because there were no specific points of rededication. Spiritual growth, when it came at all, was a slow process because I disliked change and wanted to stick to the status quo.

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