Well, I am. Sorry – just had to throw in the part that I am special. That’s my narcissistic side coming out. Have I mentioned this blog is all about me? I think I would have done better being part of Gen Y instead of Gen X. Wait, which one is more self centered? Our generation was the one who has been so bummed out by so much. Maybe we haven’t had a World War like the Greatest Generation, but we have had:
- The space shuttle blow up during math class
- Sex turn deadly with HIV/AIDS
- A war we watched on television
I could continue, but I don’t want to spend this whole blog post totally marinating in depressing events that have shaped Gen X. I think you all get my drift.
Anyhoo…making news on the talk show circuit was a commencement address given by David McCullough Jr. at Wellesley High School. Mr. McCullough is an English teacher at the school (Mr. McCullough – I am SO sorry for all of the grammatical errors in this blog. I continue to try to do better with my grammar, but I am fully aware that it SUCKS.)
What made this commencement speech different from all the rest was that it declared that this graduating class was not special. Click here to read the entire speech.
Now, a big “hallelujah” seemed to go out nationwide. Finally, someone said it. That was the general feeling from Gen Xers and Baby Boomers that were calling into local radio shows. I was listening to Darla Jaye on KMBZ and the she was going on about how ridiculous it is that kids play soccer without keeping score and this is part of the problem. This generation is too pampered. I think you get my drift. (I did call in, but had to hang up when I needed to go into the grocery store – sorry Darla)
This is where I wish I had my own radio show, because typing my feelings on this wears out my fingers! (anyone giving out free radio shows, contact me please) Just hold your horses America. I just read the speech. The speech was beautiful and the way I read it was everybody is special the same way nobody is special. It was about creating and living a meaningful life. It was far from a smack down interpretation that I keep hearing and reading about in the media.
Now if you read my blog regularly, you know I love irony. Here is the irony in all of this. There seems to be so much hostility towards a generation that we feel is pampered and entitled and here’s the deal folks: we created them. That’s right – we made the soccer leagues without the scores. We gave all the kids trophies. We told all of them they were “special” and “fantastic” (o.k. maybe not fantastic – does anyone say that anymore?). Maybe this hostility should be focused on ourselves. Maybe it’s us that we should be so mad at. We created this generation of kids that we feel aren’t adequately prepared to take on challenges that life brings them. It’s not their fault that they can’t do anything without feeling the need to be praised. We did all of the praising. We set them up for a life full of disappointment when they find out that life isn’t full of trophies and rewards for every little thing.
Do I think soccer games for kids where they don’t keep scores is a big deal? Nope. Life generally sucks. It gives us a daily dose of a kick in the ass. If my kid can play a sport when she is young and just enjoy participating without being taught the cut throat competition of adult life quite yet, I’m good with that. It’s up to me to teach her that just because you clean you room doesn’t mean that you get a reward. That’s just part of living in the house. Just because you do your homework doesn’t mean you get a doll. That’s just part of your responsibility of going to school. Now truth be told, I spoil the crap out of my kid. I tell her all the time how special she is. Will she grow up with the harsh reality of life kicking her butt all the time? Absolutely, we all do. Will she be a lesser person because I told her how great she is? Not a chance.
Thank you Mr. McCullough for a moving speech. It allowed me to take stock in my own life to this point.
“Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.” David McCullough Jr.