Special is as special does

OmegaMom, who’s trying to get her daughter to tone down the ‘tude, was appalled by the “I Am Special” song taught in kindergarten. “I am special” goes beyond telling kids it’s OK to be themselves and mean to pick on kids who are different, OmegaMom writes.

“I am special” is a license, in my opinion, for kids to internalize a very self-absorbed attitude. It celebrates “me, me, me” and promotes ignoring others.

. . . It doesn’t address the need for children to learn that they can try, and fail, and try again, and maybe — with hard work — achieve their end goal. It celebrates just being, and promotes an attitude that one needs only to exist to get a gold star.

The over-indulged kids think they’re wonderful no matter what they do or fail to do. The neglected kids think they’re worthless, no matter what the teacher tries to do. However, there are quite a few kids in the middle who see quickly that if everyone is special then nobody is especially special. Kids are smart that way.

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  1. One of my nephews was exposed to a “you are wonderful” video at school when he was about 8. When he got home, he asked my sister “Mom, how do they *know* I’m wonderful? They haven’t even ever met me!”

  2. Robert Wright says:

    Sounds to me like Omega Mom is the one with a problem.

    Objecting to feel-good song sung in kindergarten?

    And does she tell her child that it’s stupid to say goodnight to the moon?

  3. Considering that I deal daily with young adults who have been told that they’re “special” since the day they started school – and that “special” didn’t necessarily include being kind or caring or considering others, I’m not so sure Omega Mom is over-reacting.

    I’m sure some kids benefit from being reminded that they have worth simply because they’re human beings. But there are others who become little monsters of ego.

  4. Omega Mom is right on target. Those of us who teach at the university level must deal with students who must have taken the song to heart and still think that they are special because they exist. Colleges and universities are doing their best to reinforce these students’ notion that they are indeed special through their “the student is a customer” mentality.

    Lately, I have been referring my professor colleagues to Charles Sykes’ new book, 50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School. He has several rules that apply to students, including those in college, that I use on a daily basis. Rule 1-Life is not fair–get used to it. Rule 2-The real world won’t care as much as your school does about your self-esteem. Rule 5-Your school may have done away with winners and losers–life hasn’t. Rule 25-Pi (3.14….) does not care what you think. There are several other good rules here that can be applied to those students who think that they are entitled to praise or a good grade just for showing up (or even if they don’t).

  5. Years ago I heard Dr. Robert Schuller say that criminals commit crimes because they have low self-esteem. Maybe if Ted Bundy had sung…Wait a minute! Didn’t he already have high self-esteem?