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spe·cial

adjective
1. of a distinct or particular kind or character: a special kind of key.
2. being a particular one; particular, individual, or certain:
You’d better call the special number.
3. pertaining or peculiar to a particular person, thing,
instance,etc.; distinctive; unique: the special features of a plan.
4. having a specific or particular function, purpose, etc.: a special messenger.
5. distinguished or different from what is ordinary or usual: a special occasion; to fix something special.

We live in a time where kids are being taught that they are all special and remarkable. In sports leagues across the US, every kid receives a trophy. Schools hand out merit awards for just about anything. Parents go over the top to ensure that their child is treated with kid gloves, to the point of calling college professors to complain about grades, and even trying to sit in on job interviews.

We’ve created a generation of kids who don’t understand that special means just that. It is not an all inclusive category. When kids aren’t allowed to grow into their own potential through failure, we cut their legs out from under them.

High school teacher David McCullough Jr delivered a great commencement address on this very subject. The last lesson he tries to give his students is clear. You aren’t special if you aren’t reaching for your own potential.

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