Listen up. You are not special. Don’t stop reading, you need to hear this. Designer clothes, Twitter followers and purchased friends do not make you important. None of these will bring up your GPA, get you off your DUI charge or clear that irritating rash.
I’ve had about all I can take of the “special” generation. You don’t deserve a trophy for showing up. The world doesn’t owe you anything simply because your dad forgot to wrap up. Simply put, life isn’t fair.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” Doesn’t that sound nice? It’s got a “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” feel to it. But even when that sentence was written, it was only referring to white, land-owning men. We are not equal. Some have more, some have less. Some are smarter, faster, more talented and better looking.
They go on to win Emmys and sleep with other men’s wives. Others are dumb, slow and ugly. They greet me at Wal-Mart and own several cats.
I didn’t realize how much this sense of entitlement aggravated me until the last time I was downtown and had a line of bums lazily asking for my hard-earned dollars. Go ahead, call me insensitive. But I’ve been homeless. Never once did I ask for a dime.
I asked for work. Yet I’ve got these dirty, grungy cretins shaking a cup of change at me like I’ve got some obligation to make it a little heavier.
Are you expecting some kind of compassion for “my fellow man”? I don’t know you. I don’t care about you. Why don’t you dance, sing, braid something? Have the decency to give me value for my dollar.
I’ve seen it since I was a kid. I remember when they stopped letting us play dodgeball because it was insensitive to knock a kid “out.” Then they stopped grading with red ink because it made kids feel bad.
Maybe we should just stop grading altogether. Who needs an arbitrary scale of achievement? Everyone’s special, right? In their own ways, of course. I don’t buy it.
You don’t hear the smart kids complaining about that “arbitrary scale.” It’s only the hippy parents whose kids are better at finger-painting than algebra who want to abolish grades and replace them with a granola rationing system. Ridiculous.
There was a time when kids were forced to face rejection head-on and learn to deal with it. Now parents and teachers help kids avoid rejection at all costs. Their incessant coddling and patronizing have kids who can’t even spell “astronaut” thinking they’ll grow up to be one.
These are the kids who, upon the first taste of reality, shoot up churches, schools and grocery stores. I don’t need that kind of anxiety when I’m deciding between Fruit Loops and Cocoa Puffs.
How about, instead of sheltering kids from feeling bad, we teach them how to deal with those feelings? What happened to the good ol’ days when dad would let you stick the penny in the socket so you could learn for yourself?
Arbitrary scales of achievement and negative feelings correlated with failure inspire the drive to achieve more.
Somehow, though, positive and negative reinforcement have reversed roles in popularity in the last 30 years. An article by J.
Richard Kirkham (he’s too good for his first name) says that if you scold a kid for a bad grade he’ll stop trying. However, if you praise him for a bad grade then ask constructive questions, he’ll continue to make bad grades but feel good about it.
Why should kids feel good about bad grades? It basically leaves them two options: work for the city or die for their country.
Don’t get me wrong, it would be frightening to have a nation of intelligent people. I’m quite satisfied with the ignorance that prevails. I need people to pour my coffee, cook my breakfast and clean my house. I’m just a little set back because these people somehow got it in their minds they deserve something for accomplishing nothing.
I played little league when I was a kid. I rarely hit the ball, couldn’t catch to save my life and probably hurt the team more than I ever helped. Yet, at the end of the season, I received a trophy with my name on it and just below, my batting average of .113. If I hadn’t had my wits about me, I would have wasted years playing baseball, thinking I was worth something because I was given a trophy once. Thankfully I saw through the facade and stuck to what I was good at: criticizing others for their failures.
—Joe Stewart is a disgruntled journalism senior.
—The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec.