Thursday, March 01, 2007

Mommy, am I special?

Spawnette of Katie (SK): Mommy, am I special?

K: Well that depends.

SK: It does? On what?

K: On how well you've done, silly! You don't expect anybody to care about you if you're, you know, ordinary?

SK: No I guess not. I know that's what you have always told us—and shown us through conditional love—but something happened in school today.

K: What?

SK: Well, the teacher said that all us kids were special, and that she loved us all. She also said we had to respect everybody else in the class, even the icky dumb ones. She didn't say "icky dumb ones," but I think that's what she meant.

K: All what kids?

SK: Oh. All of us kids. Sorry, Mom.

K: That's better. We really do have to get you out of the public school with its egalitarian notions, not to mention special education students, don't we? What caused your teacher to make such ridiculous statements?

SK: Some of the dumb kids were having trouble in arithmetic, and our teacher made us work in groups. Every group got a dumb kid or two. Mine had two. We were supposed to help them by working together. That was really stupid. Why would I help somebody do maybe as good as me?

K: As what as me?

SK: Sorry. As well as me. Anyway, why would I do that? It just doesn't make sense.

K: No, it doesn't. The dumb kids, and the poor ones, too, will just have more trouble accepting their role in the hierarchy.

SK: I know! That's what I told the teacher, and she made me go and sit in the corner by myself. She thought she was punishing me, but I got my work done faster when I didn't have to work with the dumb kids!

K: That's my girl! Well, it's getting late. You'd better get ready for bed. I'll be up in a little while to hear your confession.

SK: Okay. I don't have much to confess tonight, though.

K: Oh ho! We'll see about that, won't we?

Today our Katie rails against what she calls the "self-esteem movement" and its destructive effect on children:

Years ago, my daughter, then [in] second grade, jumped off the school bus one day with a badge pinned to her shirt. "[Blank] is special," it said, with her name filled in. But my daughter wasn't busting her buttons. "Mom," she told me, "if everyone is special, then no one is special."

Young as she was, my daughter grasped that there is something bogus about the self-esteem movement, which was then taking the education world by storm.

Spot stands in absolute awe of a parent who can inculcate social Darwinist hunter gathererism into a kid by the second grade. Can you imagine how blood thirsty she will be as an adult? This one will make Katie really proud. A little Katie clone.

Meanwhile, she'll be doomed to a life of perfectionism and unhappiness. Way to go Katie! Really a Katie clone.

Boys and girls, when you grow up and have children of your own, Spot does not want you to be a parent like this. Spot wants you to teach your children that they are worthwhile—special if you will—regardless of their ability, or disability. Teach them to respect themselves enough to develop their talents as best they can. And teach them that they live in a community and should share of themselves with others. Don't do this for the community: do it for your kids.

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