Maybe you've heard about this recent high school graduation speech gone viral; the one where the teacher says, "You're not special!"
In case you missed it, here are two links:
1) Full speech (almost 13 minutes)
2) CNN short report (about 2 minutes)
Part of me gets it - today's youth have inflated self-egos and that makes some of them really hard to be around. We all have a little sense that the world revolves around me, but for many students today that attitude is on steroids!
Another part of me is frustrated by his comments - I keep hearing that today, like never before, kids are alone, without adult support, and in need of people to tell them, "You ARE special."
What's the truth?
I read about "helicopter parents" talking on the phone with their college aged children 6 or 7 times a day! Yet I know kids who have zero parental support and are trying to navigate the waters of life after high school on their own.
What's the truth?
Are kids more pumped up on self-esteem than ever? Well, yes! But are kids more alone than they've ever before? Well, I guess I'd say yes to that too!
The Sticky Faith folks are pushing for churches to get more adults involved in the lives of our kids, and I'm pushing for the same thing - for more adults to be present to tell kids, "God loves you; you are special."
There is a balance to all of this that is found in that tough biblical concept of speaking the truth in love. Students need to know that when they fail, and there are times they need to fail, it's going to be ok. We are there for them. God has not abandoned them. And they need to know that when they succeed, we are proud of them. They need to know they are special - but special because God has knit them together, and God has given them gifts to use for His glory and our neighbor's good.
So what do you think? How would you have reacted as a parent to this speech? How would you have reacted as a student?