Last week, I went to Target to grab a few things, and saw this notebook sitting at the end of the school supplies aisle. EEK!
I intended to just post the picture with a funny little quip, but then I got thinking. Why isn't it ok to be regular? I named my blog after the word, and did so because I'm ok with being a regular person in a regular house with a regular job in a regular neighborhood.
I think we've all gotten carried away with the mentality that everyone is special. Not just special to their moms, dads, family, and friends, but super special in the I'M SO AMAZING THAT I AM DESERVING OF ALL OF THE WORLD'S POSSESSIONS AND LOVE JUST FOR BEING BORN type of special. We've all seen it, and many articles have been written and t.v. specials have been run about the I deserve a huge trophy just for playing CYO soccer culture that seems to be pervasive with today's youth (and their parents).
I'm pretty sure that every generation has complained about something that's "wrong" with the next generation down. Despite my complaints, I am all for making little ones feel special about certain things- maybe they are good at art, or can run fast, or just give the best hugs in the whole wide world. It's ok to let kids know that they are special to you for a variety of reasons.
Unfortunately, in the harsh reality of the world (and especially in the high school and college world, as this college ruled notebook was intended for), our babies really aren't that special to anyone not in our inner circle. And that should be ok. Our little ones WILL grow into teenagers and young adults who need to be prepared and armed with the knowledge that while someone at home will always be there to cushion the blow of the real world whacking them in the face, that they WILL get whacked in the face by life. The world doesn't owe them a favor just because they are breathing.
During my teaching years, I frequently came across this mentality- the parent and 17 year old girl who were both convinced that she would become a fashion designer (despite the fact that she could only draw stick figures...), the 5'2" 12th grader whose plans were to make his money in the NBA, and the senior whose mom came in and strong armed the counselor into sending her daughter's application to Harvard, with her ACT score of 13 attached it it. The national ACT average from 2012 was a 21.1. We laugh at little ones who share these dreams with us, and we pat them on the head and tell them, "Of course you can do that!". But it's not so cute when young adults think this way and still actually believe it. It's like the two year old with a lisp that we keep telling to say "dump truck". It's funny, and we all howl with laughter, but when he's 12 and yelling "dumb f*@!", it's horrendous.
While these stories are only anecdotal, my teacher friends across the US all have had similar stories to share, and I'm sure they could add pages and pages more of the same type of thing. Why aren't we pulling on our kids' strengths and teaching them that it is ok to be regular, that the world desperately needs the plumbers, the teachers, the mail carriers?
We don't need to be special to live happy, fulfilling lives. If everybody's special all the time, then nobody's actually special, right? Except to our mommas...to them, we are the most special beings on the face of the planet. If Target made a notebook that looked like this, then I would buy it in a heartbeat:
|Now that's a little more accurate.|
Come on Target, can we make it happen?