Sharing news and commentary about education, careers, investing, and life.

Sharing news and commentary about education, careers, investing, and life.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Are you... special?

I read a great article in the WSJ about entitlement/being special, here's the link (for people with access to Factiva this is available on that database) and here's a blurb:
Signs of narcissism among college students have been rising for 25 years, according to a recent study led by a San Diego State University psychologist. Obviously, Mr. Rogers alone can't be blamed for this. But as Prof. Chance sees it, "he's representative of a culture of excessive doting."

Prof. Chance teaches many Asian-born students, and says they accept whatever grade they're given; they see B's and C's as an indication that they must work harder, and that their elders assessed them accurately. They didn't grow up with Mr. Rogers or anyone else telling them they were born special.

By contrast, American students often view lower grades as a reason to "hit you up for an A because they came to class and feel they worked hard," says Prof. Chance. He wishes more parents would offer kids this perspective: "The world owes you nothing. You have to work and compete. If you want to be special, you'll have to prove it."

"They're just children." When kids are rude, self-absorbed or disrespectful, some parents allow or endure it by saying, "Well, they're just children." The phrase is a worthy one when it's applied to a teachable moment, such as telling kids not to stick their fingers in electrical sockets. But as an excuse or as justification for unacceptable behavior, "They're just children" is just misguided.

Amazing, huh? What do you think? Are American kids like this or do you think the article grossly overgeneralizes students today?

And in other news, Ben has got a good point about blurbs. I'd like to add that besides being over the top, they're often just lies. For example, on "Stumbling to Happiness" Malcolm Gladwell gives a blurb that makes this sound like a wonderful book - on that advice I (somewhat foolishly) decided to buy and read the book. Let me assure you that the book is nowhere near as good as Malcolm Gladwell's recommendation and that because of the slight I'm going to be much more cautious when I see Gladwell give his thumbs up to a book. Anyone else have a poor experience with blurbs?

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