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The Culture of 'You're Special' Is Ruining America

Williamstown_ES_Interior 1

When I was in middle school (early 2000s) my 6th grade math teacher was asked to stop grading assignments using a red marker because the resulting red, massacred papers were too much for students to bear.  Imagine angry calls from parents because their children were sobbing about being failures.  Come on, you're eleven years old!  (Only a few years later, teachers were asked to grade using green pens because they were less upsetting to students…)

The way children are raised has shifted from "love + small, measured doses of reality" to "love - exposure to the real world."  Many children today receive stickers on each assignment (even if they failed the spelling test), trophies for being a part of a soccer team (that they never played on), and award ribbons for participating in required activities.  They also probably have their homework marked in either green or pastel blue.  Their graded assignments meet the “sticker quota.”  Parents give them candy because they are sad they failed a test (because they didn't study).  I understand kids are sensitive, impressionable, and don’t take well to failure, but kids shouldn’t be coddled forever.

The Millennial generation has been raised to believe that everyone is special.  Barney told me I was special.  So did my mom, dad, and Elmo.  Nobody’s feelings are allowed to be hurt or any stress inflicted.  There isn’t much competition and little incentive to work hard.  In short, there are no losers.  But are there really any winners?

This is the paradox: in order to make everyone feel “special,” everyone must be treated the same--no matter what.  What a contradiction.

This mentality is ruining society.