Well, that didn’t seem to be the message conveyed in a speech given by a schoolteacher in Massachusetts. According to this article on Yahoo, he delivered a commencement speech that seemed to be an ego deflating discourse that essentially conveyed to the high school graduates that they aren’t so special or remarkable, and are just a number in the grand scheme of things. In other words, in the big picture, they are one of but millions of people similar to themselves.
The idea is that many kids are coddled and pampered, and told that they are truly special. But, if everybody is told that and ends up believing that, then who isn’t special? In other words, it’s just not realistic to think that everyone is a star. Not everybody truly achieves special things, and not everybody wins or becomes wealthy – no matter how much parents want to believe their kids are the greatest and want them to feel special.
I’m guessing that this type of message wouldn’t sit well with some parents. Many people wouldn’t like to hear their kid being told, in a speech, that he or she is truly not special.
Believe it or not, I like the message! The reality is that it’s true. Not everybody is special.
I bring this up here because the message resonates with me, but also because I can see a money angle to this. If a kid is told that he (or she) is special, and deserves a good quality of life, comforts, and fun experiences, then he might start expecting that. Which may not be such a bad thing to some degree, as I do believe our expectations can help shape our success in life.
However, it’s also treacherous to some degree as well. When people think they are special, and are entitled, they risk making decisions that don’t fit their reality. You know, like wanting a flashy new car as a young person instead of a more appropriate car for a teenager. Or, when older, buying a home that fits your needs, instead of buying an unaffordable home that you simply want. Such types of moves, when taken in aggregate, can impact a person’s life in many ways.
The bottom line is that I like the message conveyed in that speech, as it was described, and based on how it ultimately relates to personal finance. If we realize that we are not special and not entitled, and that we have to personally earn our lifestyle, we will be in a position to make more sound financial decisions and lead a more fulfilling life.
To the extent that this idea is conveyed early in life, that’s all the better!
What Do You Think?
Do you like the idea that the teacher made these proclamations to the students in a commencement speech?
How would you react, as a parent, if you watched this speech happen with your kid being one of the graduates?
Do you agree with the notion that when some people think that they are special “just because”, it could lead to entitlement and perhaps some less than realistic financial decisions?