It’s about fracking time. Someone had to say it and someone finally did. “You’re not special.” English teacher David McCullough, Jr. offered this sage advice to graduating teens during commencement exercises at Wellesley (Mass.) High School, Class of 2012. “You are not special. You are not exceptional.”
And that’s it in a nutshell — none of us are special not when you look at the whole picture. We might very well be special in our own family and certainly in our own mind, but when you compare the one against the whole, we are, alas, very ordinary. In fact we are extraordinary in our ordinariness.
For a very long time we told our children “You are special” or “You did a good job,” even when they weren’t and even when they didn’t.
It was the cry of the Baby Boomer parent “What a good job you did.”
The instructions from the experts intoned, in order to raise children that grow into successful adults with high self-esteem, we must encourage them with positive words, no negativity. So we did, we positived ourselves to death.
From the moment our children could speak we were positive. When wobbly feet placed one in front of the other, we delighted, “What a good job you did.” When tiny fists picked up a crayon and drew a straight line, we crowed “What a good job you did.” When junior hit the ball off a tee platform we cooed, “What a good job you did.” From the sublimely inconsequential to the most extraordinarily ordinary, we intoned, “What a good job you did.” So much so that the expression should be claimed as the defining slogan — The Baby Boomers, the Me Generation, Generation X, Generation Y, and now the What a Good Job You Did Generation.
As a result of so much positivity, there is an entire population of individuals who are so special that it behooves them to get a job digging ditches, washing dishes, or taking care of ordinary tasks. A generation so self-entitled that they are pissed-off at big business because all the Gordon Gekko jobs are taken.
So successful was our initiative that the What a Good Job You Did Generation has rallied and camped out across the country in expensive tents, with expensive electronic equipment supplied by their positive parents who told them “What a good job you did,” that they now demand that we share the wealth. They don’t need to start at the bottom, they don’t need to pay their dues, because they did a good job, they are special, they are exceptional, and they deserve it.
The What a Good Job You Did generation wants us to hand over our hard-earned wealth like an ice cream cone on a hot summer day. Here it s and eat it— What a Good Job you Did.
So David McCullough thank you, thank you for speaking the truth. No you are not special, not even close. But if you work hard, get your hands dirty and start at the bottom, you can become special to your children, your spouse, and your community.
Not for Nuthin™, the only thing that separates the not-special from the special is hard work, and it’s about time that the What a Good Job You Did Generation learned that valuable lesson.