September 30, 2022

TELL KIDS THE TRUTH: 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.

Yes. If you want to be special, do something special.

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