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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

You're not so special

"No one is you, and that is your superpower!" reads a sign at Brian Huskie's school. "Ridiculous," he writes on SubStack. "Imagine being 16 years old and believing that. That you are unique and special and different from everyone else and that’s what gives you your power."

Young people have potential, he writes. But there's nothing unique about that. While they may be the hope of the future, they're not superheroes in the present. "For the most part, they don’t have any particularly useful insights," Huskie writes. "They haven’t accomplished anything meaningful."

He's a fan of psychologist Peter Gray, who asked in 2014: Why is Narcissism Increasing Among Young Americans? Since 1970, young people are more narcissistic and less empathetic, Gray writes.

Teachers need to stop telling kids that they're wonderful just the way they are, Huskie concludes. They've got a lot to learn.

A New York Times' photo showed a sign in a fifth-grade classroom: "The World is a Better Place With You In It." Not true, writes Dennis Prager.

"We've had 50 years of telling young people how terrific, brilliant and special they are," he writes. All this unmerited praise has created young and not-so-young Americans who are depressed, narcissistic and unable to deal with setbacks.

They wonder: "If I’m so great -- if the world is lucky to have me -- why isn’t life rewarding me?," Prager writes. Where's my participation trophy?

Your family may think the world is a better place because you were born, he concludes. Perhaps, in the future, you will make the world a better place. But you'll have to do something other than exist.

The self-esteem movement was at its peak when my daughter was in elementary and middle school. Every week someone was "special." The kids saw through it.

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8 commenti

01 ott 2022

I am unique and special. Just like everybody else!

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01 ott 2022

63 years ago some one wrote: "I've just awarded you the prize for the hundred-meter dash. Does it make you happy? ... No dodging, please. You have the prize -- here, I'll write it out; 'Grand prize for the championship, one hundred-meter sprint.'" He had actually come back to my seat and pinned it on my chest. "There! Are you happy? You value it -- or don't you?" Mr. Dubois had looked surprised. "It doesn't make you happy?" "You know darn well I placed fourth?" "Exactly! The prize for first place is worthless to you . . . because you haven't earned it. But you enjoy a modest satisfaction in placing fourth; you earned it."

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30 set 2022

Not sure where the quote came from, but I recall what I was confronted by on the whiteboard when I first walked into 10th Grade Biology class 52 years ago after transferring a few days into the term:

"A man is best measured after first being cut down to size"

Definitely old school - no warm and fuzzy participation trophies from that teacher - in fact, I was later admonished to turn in that day's assignment of catching and pinning a butterfly - the difference between an F and a zero could determine whether I got an A- or a B+.

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28 set 2022

Self-esteem is the result of accomplishment, not the cause of it.


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27 set 2022

While I can see both sides of the issue, I, too, am more inclined to make accomplishments provide the self confidence and the strength to try the next, harder step. (but then right now, I am feeling very, very good because my least favorite task at work where I spent most of my time was taken away and I get to do what I am good at. Developing new products in the lab)

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