Jun 8, 2012
A Teacher Tells a High School Graduating Class Exactly What They Need to Hear . . . No One's Going to Hand Them Anything Because They're Not Special
David McCullough Junior is an English teacher at Wellesley High School in Boston. Over the next few days some people are going to be OUTRAGED over what he did a few days ago at his school's graduation. Not me. I think he's a HERO.
David spoke at the graduation and TOLD THE TRUTH. You're not special. Even if your parents have told you that every day. No one's going to hand you anything in the world. So if you want anything from this point on, you have to earn it.
Here are a few of his best quotes. Amen to all of them . . .
--"Yes you've been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble-wrapped . . . you've been feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie . . . we've been to your games, your plays, your recitals, your science fairs.
--"Smiles ignite when you walk into a room and hundreds gasp with delight at your every tweet. And now you've conquered high school . . . here we all have gathered for you. But do not get the idea you're anything special. Because you're not.
--"Across the country no fewer than 3.2 million seniors are graduating about now from 37,000 high schools. That's 37,000 valedictorians, 37,000 class presidents, 340,000 swaggering jocks, 2,185,967 pairs of Uggs.
--"But why limit ourselves to high school? Even if you're one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion, that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you.
--"You see, if everyone is special, then no one is. If everyone gets a trophy, trophies become meaningless . . . we Americans have of late come to love accolades more than genuine achievement. We have come to see them as the point.
--"No longer is it how you play the game, or even whether you win or lose, or learn or grow, or enjoy yourself doing it . . . now it's 'So what does this get me?'
--"As you commence, I urge you to do whatever you do for no reason other than you love it and believe in its importance.
--"The fulfilling life, the distinctive life, the relevant life, is an achievement, not something that will fall into your lap because you're a nice person or mommy ordered it from the caterer.
--"Exercise free will and creative, independent thought not for the satisfactions they will bring you, but for the good they will do others . . . and those who will follow them.
--"Then you too will discover the great and curious truth of the human experience is that selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself. The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you're not special. Because everyone is."