By Dom Giordano
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Dom Giordano talked to author and teacher David McCullough Monday, April 28 on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT about his book, You Are Not Special.
In his book, McCullough address education, parents and schools. He said calling kids “special” instead of forcing them to strive for superiority has negative consequences.
“The danger, or course, is that they think, because they’re special, they’re therefore entitled to special breaks, special dispensation [and] lots of opportunity other “regular” people might not have.”
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He stated that by celebrating even minor successes parents and schools make students overvalue accomplishments of little value.
“It’s a statistical inevitability that most of us are average. The problem is everyone wants to be above average. That, mathematically, just isn’t going to work. So, what we do is we kind of lower standards a little bit and throw ever-more confetti when kids achieve something of, often modest, consequence. As a result, through no fault of their own these kids start to get this inflated notion of themselves.”
McCullough realizes that all parents love their children, but they should not be the only source for building self-esteem.
“Kids should understand they matter very much to their parents. Of course, children are special to their parents. It’s when they take that out the front door that problems ensue. Imagine a teacher who thought one or a few of his students were more special or important than others. Imagine a doctor who felt that way. Kids need to be confident. They need to work hard and feel good about themselves and shouldn’t really have to rely on their parents to inflate their egos.”