“Friends: It Could Have Been Me,” New Era, Oct. 2008, 20–21
When I was seven, a girl moved into my neighborhood, and we became friends. We both liked the same things, and we were a good influence on each other. We made good choices because our parents had taught us to choose wisely.
Once we got into sixth grade though, we made wrong choices in order to fit in with our friends who had lower standards. The next year, I decided that I needed to change friends so I could start making right choices again by living higher standards. The only problem was that my friend and I were still friends, and I didn’t want to stop hanging out with her.
Doing what I needed to do was hard. I had been told all my life to pick good friends and keep my standards high. But I did not have a testimony of why this was important, so I had to trust that it was correct. Over the summer and during eighth grade, we stopped hanging out as much and chose separate directions.
I saw the blessings of this decision later that year. My former friends decided to bring alcohol to school. They convinced some other girls to drink it, and they all got in trouble. I realized that one of those girls could have been me. If I had been with them, I don’t know if I would have had the strength to stand up for my beliefs.
When I think of the consequences I would have had to face, I feel overwhelmed. I could have struggled with addiction, been in trouble with the law, lost my parents’ trust, but most of all, I could have betrayed the trust Heavenly Father has in me.
I know that what the prophet says about living high standards is for our protection. Even though we may see it as inconvenient, it helps us spiritually, physically, mentally, and in other ways we don’t even realize.