This one is for Mr and Mrs. I and Their Children

Copernicus got it wrong. Seems the sun is not the center of operations; I am. I am the average American college student raised in the cult of self-serving ideals; standards that rise and fall with my abilities, moods, and sad stories of my childhood and my current woes; and the sure belief that how I feel today is everything to everybody--and that's the way it ought to be.

There is a narcissism epidemic raging among university students, according to a comprehensive study by five researchers led by Professor Jean Twenge of San Diego State University. Twenge and her colleagues examined the responses of 16,475 US college students who completed an evaluation called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory between 1982 and 2006.

Two thirds of the students had above average scores, 30 percent more than in 1982. Who are these narcissists? Persons who lack empathy, react aggressively to criticism and favor self-promotion over helping others. According to the study, narcissists "are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, to be at risk of infidelity, to lack emotional warmth, and to exhibit game-playing, dishonesty, and over-controlling and violent behaviors."

Though volunteerism among young people is on the rise, Twenge pointed out that many high schools require volunteer community service as a requisite to graduation--and it looks very good on a college application.

As an English teacher who encounters at least one student with a "poor me, my car/grandmother/computer died" excuse for not completing an assignment on time for every five who do the work, I can well believe this report. As an English teacher who sees objective writing assignments reduced to inane paragraphs of subjective cathartic barf set at 12-pt. Times New Roman, I could be a footnote in this report. As a teacher who has had to push past students who feel they deserve A's "for at least trying," I have to say, "Amen."

Yes indeed, Mr. and Mrs. I and all you little I children, that report is all about you. Can you believe you're found wanting in so many ways--or do you think they are talking about someone else?


  1. Anonymous5:09 PM

    This kind of special taught to these kids growing up was not taught with:

    1) Just because you're special, that doesn't mean you're better than everyone else.

    2) Just because you're special, that doesn't mean you don't have to work hard.

    3) Just because you're special, all of life's reasureswon't just land in your lap.

    I read this article. The Me Generation has morphed into the Yes, Me - And Don't You Forget It Generation. It's scary.

  2. another thougthful post, and i suppose i should have known you were an English teacher given the quality of your posts... but, i think you're being greedy... as an english teacher i rarely get complete sentences, let alone paragraphs! ;P

  3. Yeah....I get a little worked up...All of this reminds me of one student who kept her mandatory journal right-side-up from the front to the middle and upside-down from the back to the middle. She thought she was Escher. The sad thing she thought it was that simple. Under pressure over a missing assignment one week, she said her dad had cancer. The following week, he had no cancer. Miracles all around us....


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