June 12, 2012

Rain, rain, rain…

Fortunately, and I don’t know how I’m doing it, but for most of the time, through all this rain we’re getting, I’ve avoided the actual downpours.  And when I say downpour, that’s putting it mildly!

This morning, I was awoken by a very large boom!  This boom scared the cats, who I imagine, were also sleeping soundly.  Then I hear all the car alarms around the neighbourhood going off, and the next thing, rain so loud, and coming down so hard, not only could I not get back to sleep, but I couldn’t even see across the street.

As I’ve mentioned so often, I would much rather it rain than snow.  The rain tends to clean up the streets.  It makes the air seem clean.  The thing I don’t like though, is the humidity.  It makes everything feel wet, even though it’s not.  Also, being in a warmer climate, before the rain actually begins, the humidity is so high, that I start to sweat before the rain.  Just sitting here at the computer, trying to get my lessons done, the paper jams more often, the ink tends to bleed into the paper more, and I feel and look like I just stepped out of the shower.

I do though enjoy the rain.  Where many people feel depressed or sad when it rains, I look at it this way.  Eventually, the sun will shine again.  I don’t consider myself a sad or depressed person, or someone who even gets to that point, so the rain doesn’t provoke those emotions.

Yesterday, I posted a second article.  I was able to post it directly to my blog, so that is why there is no date.  It was the text of commencement speech given by Mr. David McCullough Jr. to the 2012 graduating class at Wellesley High School, I assume, in Boston, Massachusetts.

What caught my attention first, was the headline on Yahoo.ca, “You’re Not Special”.  Then, I read the speech itself.  It’s interesting for a couple of reasons.

While reading the article, I kind of understood where Mr. McCullough was coming from.  That is, being an educator myself, and reading what he had written, I could understand why he choose this theme.

We’ve all seen movies, or television shows, or even had classmates in school, who always felt they were ‘IT’!  They were the ones who everyone wanted as a friend.  They were the ones who always seemed to have the best clothes.  They were the ones who just thought, they were better than anyone else.  Everyone else was there to serve THEM!  Watch a couple episodes of “Gossip Girl” and you’ll understand what I’m saying.

Even now, being a teacher, I can see certain students who have the same attitude.  Even in a country as populated as Taiwan (for it’s relatively small land size), there are those who have the attitude that they are special.

To quote, “… you are not special.”  No one is ‘special’.  Perhaps to our parents, our loved ones, partners, friends, siblings – we may be special people, but on the world scene, no one is special.

You may argue, that someone like Obama or QEII or the Pope are all special people.  They are famous, I’ll give them that.  They are definitely under scrutiny all the time.  I’ll give them that.  But special?  No.

When Mr. McCullough starting using numbers (statistics), that’s when it hit home I suppose.  We all look at our world from our own view.  Yes, we know there are over 6,000,000,000 people on the planet.  But when you start getting into huge numbers when giving statistics, this is where most people would tune out.

He used stats pertaining to the United States.  That’s fine.  However, the basis is still pertinent.  Even if you think about your own city, or if that is too small, your own province or state.  And you don’t just have to think about graduating.  Think about your job.  Your position in your job.

Certainly, a quote from “Star Trek:  The Next Generation”, where Worf’s son says, “… the higher, the fewer…” holds true.  The higher your position in the community or workplace, the fewer people there are to compare you to, but, keep in mind, that you are still not ‘special’.

You are in a city.  You work every day.  You have a family.  You eat.  Sleep.  Bleed.  Then again, so do a lot of other people.

You work in a hospital.  You are a doctor.  You are a surgeon.  You are neurologist.  Then again, so do a lot of other people.

You go to school.  You get good grades.  You go to class every day.  You are number one in your class/grade.  So are a lot of other people.

I don’t think I need to beat this to death.  I think if you have a brain, you can grasp the meaning behind Mr. McCullough’s speech.  I don’t think he was trying to point out to any particular person, but to everyone in general.  Get the graduates to understand, that just thinking or being told that you are special, doesn’t mean that you are special.

Parents and educators try to instill on their children and students that you are unique.  We all have our own personalities, abilities, things we do well, and things we don’t.  Special?  Well, if that were the case, then as he said, there are over 6,000,000,000 special people out there.  Once you look and realize that, then special isn’t really special anymore.

Do you stand out?  Perhaps.

Live your life to the fullest.  Respect others.  Treat others as you want to be treated.  I know, cliche, but…  you may think and be told that you are special, and keep in mind, that 6,000,000,000 other people also think and are told that THEY are special.

That’s it, that’s all… for now!



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