As you can imagine ripples from David McCullough Jr.’s speech are still hitting the shore. Lots of, “What right does he have to say my kid isn’t special?!”… But a majority – possibly overwhelming majority – of the responses have been in the “Keep on keepin’ on” category. Probably because much of what he said hits a little close to home.
Here’s the latest, from the mouth of the shooter. In Monday’s Daily Beast, David McCullough, Jr adds to the mix in, “My Turn on the ‘You’re Not Special’ Speech” (The Daily Beast from Newsweek Magazine, 6/18/12).
While seeing some Green Room action on the CBS Morning show set, Prof McCullough sat with Nobel laureate: economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman … and considered a few thoughts about Mr. Krugman’s possible take on “special”. Here’s a brief snippet: (Click on the link for the full article.)
…[Mr Krugman] is also, as we all know, powerfully smart, supremely accomplished, hugely influential.
And I’m willing to bet he never went to lacrosse camp.
Or to a four-day tourney of any kind in Orlando.
In fact, I’ll bet he never even went to economics camp or sat three afternoons a week at age 12 with an economics tutor. And, further, I suspect his wonderfulness was not celebrated when he had been something less than wonderful. I’ll guess neither his anxious mom nor a $100-an-hour tutor helped him with a lightly plagiarized 10th-grade Middlemarch paper; nor did his parents encourage him to pack his résumé with papier-mâché. He did not, I’ll bet, endure a six-week intensive SAT prep class or snort Adderall before sitting to take the test. Probably his parents did not hire a pricey consultant to shepherd him through the college-application process; nor did they lean on his teachers to let him retake tests on which he did poorly, or, better, to just change an unwelcome grade because the, um, cat died.
He goes on and lands where truth tends to land … in the same place it has landed for centuries… a place where a certain someone said years ago hid the secret to life – or the greatest commandment. Somewhere on loving others runway.
Considering his kids, McCullough says: I recognize my kids—like my students—are no more or less important than anyone else’s, no more or less deserving of happy, productive lives, lives that shake a joyous fist at mortality, lives that matter beyond themselves. They know it, Nobels or no Nobels.
Yes … our kids are special. Just maybe a different kind of special than they think, than we’ve groomed them to think. They were each created to be or do in their own unique way – with their eyes off themselves on and on to those for or with whom they serve/be-firend/co-work. When we get to that point, we might find out just how special we all are.