We are ill-prepared for reality in the modern school system. We're taught early on about people taking a stand and sticking to their values; these people are spoken of as heroes. But in the real world, it's much different: Those who believe in God and stay true to our religious principles, or even the rules of our parents, are seen as easily led, simple-minded and no fun.
We're the goody-goods. Yes, I'll admit that I belong to the compartment in society's TV dinner that believes we don't have to stoop or let go of our principles to be accepted.
I remember when I was first stereotyped in this manner. In fifth grade, I was the only one on my table not disciplined for being loud for the substitute teacher, since I wasn't. The next day a girl looked right at me and lied, "You talked just as much as the rest of us, Lindsey."
Then she threw down the brand: "You just didn't get punished because you're a goody-good."
I wasn't sure what to do. I returned to my coloring a confused child. Not only had I been lied to about my behavior, I had heard the word "good" spoken with scorn. My mother said to ignore it; that name was a good thing! OK, now the confusion was double; a positive adjective was used in a mocking tone, and that was a good thing?
Junior high only made my predicament worse; behavior notes, the norm to many kids, made me breathe abnormally; the girl with a locker next to mine had a boyfriend who only spoke about sexual topics; I was the only overachiever on my TLC table and was mocked for being active LDS.
By ninth grade, the rumors had gone from rancorous to ridiculous. It was whispered that I read the dictionary for fun, and that my best friend's parents allowed her only one hour of fun a week. We were seen as tools of the adults, the establishment. And nothing could be farther from the truth; my friend and I think much of what the establishment does is crazy, and we don't follow our parents around blindly saying "Yes, sir" or "Yes, ma'am."
In high school, questions have come mostly for my defense of values; I went with my church on the whole Prop 8 thing, I do not believe in abortion, and I intend to use my Starbuck's gift card on a gourmet hot chocolate. I don't censure those who don't ascribe to my values, but I'm not lowering my standards. Although I'm more respected for my view, some still think a "goody-good" can't have any fun.
But we goody-goods of the world do enjoy a good time. Friday nights will, with any luck, find us quoting and/or watching movies and snacking with friends, or playing games and sports. We like all types of friends, and many of us don't censure others. We, too, enjoy dates, flirting and dancing. We're normal people, just forcefully principled. We choose to have fun our way, which is still fun, I promise!
Phew! I've needed to say that for years. It feels good taking on the title -- being a goody-good is nothing to be ashamed of.
Lindsey Larson is a senior at Roy High School. E-mail her at email@example.com.