Selflessness is Key
“Selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself,” David McCullough said at a high school commencement speech at Wellesley High in Boston. Be yourself in a world that is trying to tell you you’re special when you win a prize. But does competition does not mean that you are better than someone else? You don’t need a trophy and for someone to say that you are special. You need to feel it and realize that even those who didn’t get the trophy are special. David McCullough, Wellesley High School English Teacher, gave the commencement speech and told the graduates that they are not special.
David McCullough’s commencement speech was taken in different ways. Read the speech and watch the Youtube video and share your thoughts. What do you think he meant and was he right or wrong in his statements?
“Kids are not Special” Commencement Speech
Who is Special?
McCullough told the audience that “The recognition is that you’re not special, because everyone is”. We can all be special, but it’s hard “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Are Emerson’s words still relevant today? Is the truth hard to face? Is David McCullough right? What is the role of school? Is the truth hard to bear?
Live Life to the Fullest
I applaud David McCullough for giving a great speech and telling the kids “As you commence and scatter to the winds, do whatever you do for no reason other than you love it and believe in its importance”. He gave the kids and their parents great advice that they can hopefully keep close their hearts. You don’t need to be told you’re special, you need to live a special life and realize that everyone is special. We need to live our lives and not live a life that we think others want us to live.
School for Life
High school kids need to learn about living to the fullest. They need to learn to respect and encourage their peers to do the same. What would life in school be like if respect and self-discovery were part of the curriculum along side each of the school subjects?
Critics of the Truth
According to ABC news, there may be many critics of McCullough’s commencement speech, but the kids and their parents loved it. Apparently, Mr. McCullough is one of their favorite teachers. McCullough promotes active learning by providing “discussions over lectures, arranging desks – including his” and providing the students with projects. Yes, the criticism from the news media, such as the Daily Mail is overwhelming.
CNN reporter, LZ Granderson, was able to see value in the speech. Why are the headlines making news with “Kids, you are not special” and leaving out the rest? Is the truth and great advice hard to bear or are these reporters trying to defend an age old idea that only a select few are special and no one else?
Does David McCullough need to defend his speech? Watch and share your thoughts.