Apr 192010
Authors: Josh Phillips

In one concise sentence, I am going to shatter everything your parents told you about yourself, your life and your abilities. You ready?

Take a deep breath. Prepare for an epiphany. Here goes:

You’re not special. You never were. The façade of intellect and talent perpetuated by your parents was merely an attempt to avoid social stigma by presenting you as a child prodigy to teachers and other competitive parents.

It was a misguided sense of encouragement designed to patch the shoddy handiwork that comprised their parenthood.

But those who read this and nod are not experiencing an epiphany — they already knew it to be true. Those who read this and shake their heads are too arrogant to recognize an epiphany when they see one.

Unfortunately, those who are shaking their heads are becoming the majority. According to a 2007 study cited in the Boston Globe, college students are 30 percent more narcissistic than their predecessors. The study is based on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, which has been evaluating students since 1982. (In the interest of openness, it’s worth noting that I scored 11 on the NPI test. The average is 15.3)

Such an attitude is dangerous, destructive and leads to a perceived sense of entitlement that is the very foundation of today’s political climate.

Trace the problem to its roots and you’ll find most of the blame falls on overprotective parents and an increasingly naïve education system. Today, children in the U.S. are coddled and sheltered like never before.

Parents are giving all and expecting nothing in return.

Instead of punishing their kids for socially unacceptable behavior, they attempt to “reason” with the child, and then they’re shocked when the little brat continues to exhibit the same reprehensible behavior.

I have two nieces and a nephew, and I’ve learned that sometimes kids won’t respond to reason.

Why? Because they haven’t learned it yet. It’s our job as responsible adults to teach them, and part of teaching reason is providing incentives for good behavior and disincentives for bad behavior.

Tell that to the “modern parent” and he or she will counter with some sort of nonsensical I-believe-in-always-encouraging-my-child philosophy that suggests they have erected a shrine in their whiny, snot-nosed brat’s honor.

These parents want their children to have a perfect, painless life, so they become servants to their child’s every whim and fuel their feeling of entitlement.

Today’s educational system is no better. Schools are adopting “no fail” grading systems to “ease the humiliation” of failing.

Have they stopped to consider that maybe a failing student should feel humiliated? I understand that sometimes there are extenuating circumstances, but let’s face it, high school courses don’t ask for much.

And some schools have stopped using red ink because it may somehow damage a student’s self-esteem.

Some have banned playing tag at recess because one of the children is subjected to being labeled as “it” during the course of play. Instead of allowing kids to solve problems on their own, schools take a page out of the federal government’s book and step in to regulate playtime.

If “Lassie” were still airing, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear one of the actors utter: “What is it, girl? Little Timmy is being made fun of in school? Quick, we need to petition for more legislation!”

Then, when kids are unable to face new challenges without becoming frustrated and reacting irrationally or violently, we blame TV and video games. We enact legislation against that dirty entertainment industry because parents and children shouldn’t be asked to face the consequences of their own actions, no sir.

Now, these narcissistic children are growing up and permeating colleges, shouting for their entitled state funds and repeat-delete credits. They’re angry tantrum-throwing adolescents who demand free handouts from the government and resort to screaming when faced with opposition.

Our government regularly bows to the wishes of these narcissists as a “modern parent” would give in to the desires of his screeching toddler.

We perpetuate weakness and label it “progress,” leading us deeper into the Age of Entitlement.

So enjoy the freebies while in college, kiddos, because when you graduate, reality might sting a bit.

Josh Phillips is a senior business administration major. His column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:23 pm

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