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The power to choose

By  Alejandra Castaneda, YSN
  • January 17, 2007
As a teen I hate when I don't get to make my own decisions. I get very aggravated when my parents prevent me from going out. Being 17, I know I am old enough to make my own choices. However, recently I encountered a peer whose opinions really disturbed me. He claimed it was impossible to say "no" to peer pressure. In other words he believes he has no choice.

Suddenly a plethora of questions sprang up in my mind. Did God not give humans the ability to choose? Are we not beings with an intellect? Don't we have the ability to differentiate between right and wrong? But most importantly don't we all have free will?

The society we live in today calls for youth to frequently make difficult decisions. The media target teens with their products and ideologies; consequently it is easy to get confused. 

Hard drugs, loads of alcohol, promiscuous fashions and suggestive movies all portray the world's confused standards on what will bring satisfaction and happiness. Many teens find themselves in despair, trying to obtain society's "ideal" life. Nonetheless, the coveted contentment teens long for is not found in material things.

When God created humans, He embedded us with intellect and free will. Free will gives us the option to choose between right and wrong, good and bad, light and darkness. Consequently no human is without reason; we all have the ability to say "no."

The option to implement intellect and choice lies within each of us. I believe my peer lost the internal battle of good vs. bad before he'd even begun. Walking into a situation knowing you are going to sin only heightens the probability of committing a transgression. Nevertheless, sometimes saying no is a matter of not putting yourself in a situation where you know you will be tempted.

I am a sucker for ice cream cake. If you place a vanilla ice cream confection in front of me, 10 times out of 10 I will eat it. Therefore, if I know my weakness I can avoid walking into an ice cream parlour right before dinner. The same mentality can apply to drugs and alcohol. Don't go to a party where there will be alcohol if you know it will put you in a difficult situation. Why go shopping with girls that you know can persuade you to buy skimpy clothes? Why choose to put yourself in a position that will only weaken your morale? At the end of the day you do have an option.

I am not saying that if you use your intellect and will you will never fall into temptation. I make mistakes, as do we all. Yet it is possible to strengthen ourselves by exercising free will and using our intellect to make the right decisions. Furthermore, this is not a task we must take up on our own.

It is vital for teens to constantly ask God for help. By receiving the Eucharist, attending Confession and praying to God for help our doubts will disappear. By using the gifts He has given us and asking for help, youth can be assured they can make the better choice.

(Castenada is  Grade 12 student at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in North Vancouver.)

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