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Graduation Speech: You're Not Special

  1. RTalloni profile image89
    RTalloniposted 5 years ago

    "Did teacher David McCullough do students a favor by telling them they are not special?"

    Find his speech here:

    http://news.bostonherald.com/news/regio … t_special/

    See interview here:

    http://politics.kfyi.com/cc-common/news … e=10186074

    1. joejagodensky profile image61
      joejagodenskyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Well written and delivered. A message for all ages. Excellent speech.  Same applies to Tom Brokaw, "The Greatest Generation" and calling the US the greatest nation on earth. No high horse needed for doing the work, every day.

      1. RTalloni profile image89
        RTalloniposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        A wake up call for graduates that we can all benefit from, though astrophysicists think a little too much of their own abilities: 

        "So think about this: 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. Imagine standing somewhere over there on Washington Street on Marathon Monday and watching sixty-eight hundred yous go running by. And consider for a moment the bigger picture: your planet, I’ll remind you, is not the center of its solar system, your solar system is not the center of its galaxy, your galaxy is not the center of the universe. In fact, astrophysicists assure us the universe has no center; therefore, you cannot be it."

    2. Chris Neal profile image78
      Chris Nealposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, he did them a favor. Loved the speech!

    3. RoxiM profile image60
      RoxiMposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Wonderful speech! I wish my son could have heard this message when he graduated. In fact, I think I'll have to send it to him so he can still benefit from it. Then again, maybe he doesn't need to hear it; I think he's figured this one out on his own.

  2. eternals3ptember profile image61
    eternals3ptemberposted 5 years ago

    I think my generation needs more speeches like this.

    I realized early on that no one out in the world is going to think I'm special, and that I'd have to work at it, but for those who don't I think a speech like this is necessary.

    1. RTalloni profile image89
      RTalloniposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      How smart would we all be to give ourselves this speech everyday?!

  3. rebekahELLE profile image89
    rebekahELLEposted 5 years ago

    Great speech! And one that desperately needs to be heard and understood.
    We are all unique, but no one is special above someone else. It sends the worst message to young people who already feel much more entitled than they should.
    Life is full of everything we need to experience. Fortunately those who get his message will remember his words and understand.

    Congrats to the 2012 graduates everywhere. smile

    1. RTalloni profile image89
      RTalloniposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      It is a priceless speech.  With precision he covers points that too many teachers only have a vague idea about, much less too many parents.  His words keep coming to mind:

      "Resist the easy comforts of complacency, the specious glitter of materialism, the narcotic paralysis of self-satisfaction. Be worthy of your advantages. And read... read all the time... read as a matter of principle, as a matter of self-respect. Read as a nourishing staple of life. Develop and protect a moral sensibility and demonstrate the character to apply it. Dream big. Work hard. Think for yourself. Love everything you love, everyone you love, with all your might. And do so, please, with a sense of urgency, for every tick of the clock subtracts from fewer and fewer; and as surely as there are commencements there are cessations, and you’ll be in no condition to enjoy the ceremony attendant to that eventuality no matter how delightful the afternoon."

  4. Shanna11 profile image94
    Shanna11posted 5 years ago

    I posted this on my Facebook the other day after my mom passed it on to me-- I only wish someone had given this speech at my graduation last year. Way too many kids were self-obsessed and convinced they were better than everyone else who was graduating. I hated high school because it was in a crappy area and the kids were just shy of being outright demons-- I'm not even exaggerating. They could be absolutely awful.

    This was an excellent speech and I SO wish some of my old classmates could hear it.

    1. RTalloni profile image89
      RTalloniposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Maybe they will yet hear it!  So glad to know you posted it on FB!  Hopefully, it will be popular enough to make the rounds.

    2. Chris Neal profile image78
      Chris Nealposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I think in America the idea that everyone IS special has so taken root that we forget you sometimes need to teach people how to BE special. Yes, everyone is uniquely valuable and invaluably unique, but kids aren't given the tools they need to go out and conquer the world.

      1. RTalloni profile image89
        RTalloniposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Well put.  There's a lot of food for thought in the speech.  Bravo to David McCullough for stepping up to bat in that arena.

      2. wilderness profile image97
        wildernessposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        I have to disagree, partially, with what you say here.

        You see, kids are given the tools to conquer the world, as least as much as their individual talents will let them (we can't all be Napolean!).

        The only tool needed we are born with - the one inside our skull.  All other tools are secondary and must be gathered by the individual - they can't be given by anyone and retain much value. 

        That's a part of the problem I see today - people starting out want everything given to them.  The idea of starting at the bottom and working (gasp - work?!) their way up to their dreams is foreign.  They've been given anything and everything they ever wanted and expect that to continue.  Their idea of tools is simply to have someone else provide for them, from education to experience to knowledge.

        1. RTalloni profile image89
          RTalloniposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          The difference is in "Their idea of tools…" as opposed to what CNeal pointed out from the speech.  The right tools are not the little they have learned, the accolades, or even the love of family and friends.  The author offered them a glimpse of what the right tools really are, giving them a chance to think about having a grownup perspective as opposed to the childish perspective that was fostered in them to that point.

        2. Chris Neal profile image78
          Chris Nealposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          If I'm "hearing" you correctly, what you're saying is that once we graduate high school, anything we get should be gotten on our own with no help from anybody. No training, no schooling, no mentoring.

          Yeah, everybody is not going to be brilliant, but we need to help kids reach their potential. Right now we basically don't train them for the work that needs to be done. We kind of tell them to reach for the stars and then don't help them reach them. I'm not saying we need to hand things to kids, I think we do that now and that's why so many are so ill prepared for the real world.

          1. RoxiM profile image60
            RoxiMposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            I definitely agree with this. As a teacher, I see so many kids who come to high school without even beginning to realize their own potential. We are not preparing them for the "real world," but we're allowing them to believe that they can achieve their dreams. I wish it worked that way, but it doesn't.

  5. Tusitala Tom profile image65
    Tusitala Tomposted 5 years ago

    This is a great speech because it bespeaks the truth. No amount of mollycuddling will make anyone special - except in their own opinion of themselves.   No one is special despite the fact that we all have our own especial gifts and talents.  In the sense that everyone and everything is unique - not even two snowflakes are similar - we can say that we are 'especially good at..." but it does not make us special.  When we see ourselves as special it means there are others who are not.  It causes division.

        Nature does not discrimmate.  Lighting kills people in the good old USA just as it does in Libya, Brazil, or Mongolia.  This business of anyone being special is simply something made up by our own egos.  We became healthier in our minds when we start to realize that.

  6. kylie624 profile image60
    kylie624posted 5 years ago

    I had him as a teacher, and he always emitted 100% sheer brilliance and, I believe, continues to do so. Here is a closer look at my opinion regarding the speech: http://kylie624.hubpages.com/hub/Welles … and-Stinks