Is anyone truly born special?
I am a father of two young kids, and just like all fathers (and mothers) throughout time, I often believe that my children are the most special in all the world; and understandably so – it is human nature after all. Most likely our parents also felt like this and treated us this way. As a result, there is a good chance that we believed this all our lives growing up − but is it true? Could this mindset, conditioning and belief be putting us and our children (potentially even entire generations) at a huge emotional and psychological disadvantage?
We often hear things along the lines of ‘The young kids of today are so lazy!’ or ‘They don’t make them like they used to’ and a dozen other variations on the theme – but is there any truth in these statements? I believe that the middle and upper classes of today typically do have it easier than the same bands of people thirty of forty years ago and that the standard of living overall is certainly higher − in large part due to technological and medical advances during this time as well as higher average earnings per capita. And comfort is often the enemy of rapid or extraordinary action and innovation/excellence out of need. A saying I love is ‘The biggest obstacle to having a great life is having a good life’, which I think encapsulates this idea well.
But perhaps with the higher average quality of life of the younger generation (and ‘spoiling’ our kids out of love) something else has slowly crept in? A sense of entitlement to the finer things in life that they have enjoyed growing up without necessarily earning it? Perhaps that is why so many young people get a shock and rude awakening once they have to leave the nest, as protected as it was, venture out into the job market, and earn their way in life. Unless their families are extremely wealthy and can support them financially for extended periods, many find the transition excruciatingly difficult − and for good reason, especially in the current global economy and even more so in the current COVID-19 environment.
So, coming back to my opening paragraph: yes, my kids are the most special kids that have ever been born – but only to me. It is up to them to earn the right to be special to others through hard work, societal or intellectual contributions, or a million other positive ways which are up to them to develop and nurture. All I can do is guide them to think in this way and learn to understand reality from a young age in order to prepare them for the tough world out there as best I can.