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Why are Adventist Academy Kids so Stuck-up?

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Why are Adventist academy kids so stuck-up?


Steve Answers:

First of all, that sounds like a generalization to me. There are scores of academies in North America that literally tens of thousands of students attend, and I don't believe that all of those students are stuck-up. Neither do I think that the person who sent me this question really believes that.

It's true that some academy kids are stuck-up, but so are some kids who don't attend Adventist academies. What I think is more likely happening is that the person who wrote this question is seeing people with a lot of things in common hang out together. This is natural, and sometimes it happens unintentionally.

I don't think the students mean to exclude other people around them. It's just that natural bonds do form among people who have the same friends and the same teachers, and complain about the same cafeteria food (at least boarding school students do). All these things unite academy students together so tightly that if you're not attending their school, you could feel left out.

So what can you do about it? First, remember that while you don't have to like someone's behavior or agree with it, it always helps to understand why people act the way they do. As we already pointed out, people with common experiences tend to bond with one another.

Now, I have very mixed feelings about my academy years. The academy I attended was about 90 percent White, and this was back in the 1970s. At that time my school wasn't exactly racially sensitive or racially progressive. So academy wasn't always a happy place for me.

But I did get excited when I went back for my class reunion. I was even glad to see people there that I hadn't particularly enjoyed seeing when we were students. We were, and always will be, bound by a common experience—attending the same school.

For you the trick is to find common ground with the academy students and build relationships with them when you don't have an academy experience in common—or any other common thread.

The problem is made worse by our tendency as humans to prejudge people or groups with whom we have little contact or of whom we have little knowledge. So people end up saying such things as "Academy kids are stuck-up" or "Black people are this way" or "White people are this way," when the truth is that once you really get to know people who are not like you or not in your group, you find out that "they" are a lot more like "you" than you thought.

Now, if it was easy to find common ground, people would do it more often. But there are some things that you can do to build bridges.

If you're in academy or a part of whatever group happens to be "the group," try to reach out to those on the "outside," particularly if the outsiders have no control over the reason they're outside.

And don't say "But we have nothing in common!" Until you make an effort to get to know someone, how do you know what you have in common? Most of you are missing out on the opportunity to get to know some great people because you won't venture outside your "group."

Also, do something with someone with whom you ordinarily do nothing. Invite them to your house, your church, or the mall. Make sure that when your "group" is around people who aren't in "the group," you include everyone in the conversation.

If you're not in "the group," it's a little harder. But you still have to reach out. You can do some inviting too. It's risky—you could get embarrassed. But no relationship is without risk. A greater risk is to go through life poorer because you know only people who are like you.

If you talk to people who are not like you—instead of talking about them—in many cases you'll find that you'll have more friends and a richer life.

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