You Are Not Special

You’ve probably heard about David McCullough Jr.’s much-publicized graduation speech at Wellesley High School back in 2012. Perhaps you even saw it on YouTube. Perhaps you read the book by the same title. Perhaps you were even there in person. In any case, you may know that McCullough was addressing the privileged teenagers of towns like Wellesley — and yes, even Weston — whose parents have taught them that they are special.

McCullough’s message: “No, you’re not special.”

This is worth hearing. Indeed too many kids from the well-to-do suburbs have been inculcated with the idea that they’re special.

But that’s a vast oversimplification. I know it’s hard to tell, but the majority of kids in Weston are brought up to be polite and respectful, not arrogant and entitled. The few who are think they’re always special just stand out. Most know that some of what they do is special, but that they themselves have the same responsibilities as everyone else.

Despite this. McCullough’s talk is worth paying attention to. The book, not so much. It has clearly been padded in order to reach book-length format. There’s definitely some interesting additional material, but you can tell that it was originally just a short talk.

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Categories: Books, Teaching & Learning, Weston