Ruben Navarrette: Last year a graduation speaker told students "You're not special"
He says the viral talk rightly targeted Millennial generation as privileged, entitled
Navarrette gives 10 tips for a rewarding life and career
He says young people should get to really know their parents, explore life outside comfort zone
Editor’s Note: Ruben Navarrette is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter: @rubennavarrette
Last year, at Wellesley High School in Massachusetts, David McCullough Jr., an English teacher at the school and the son of the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough, gave the commencement address. He knocked it out of the park, and his words traveled far. What he had to say, America was desperate to hear.
McCullough believes that much of today’s youth is “pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble-wrapped” and shielded from reality. He told the graduates: “Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.”
I’ve had the privilege of delivering a commencement address, at a university in central California, and I hope someday to deliver another. In fact, I already know what I want to say.
So let me try it out on the class of 2013. Talk to college professors or human resource managers or employers. Read the research done on the so-called Millennial generation, and you’ll find lots of evidence that McCullough was on the right track. The young people of today have often spent their lives being coddled, catered to and spared the stress of living up to expectations. People usually tell them only what they want to hear.
Not me. I’d rather tell our future leaders what they need to hear. Here are 10 provocative pieces of advice that this year’s class of college and university graduates would be wise to take to heart:
1) Have your parents introduce themselves to you. Interview them, and record it. Ask them about their lives, and what stories or lessons they’d like to share with their grandchildren. They gave you life, so the least you can do is try to understand theirs. When they’re gone, you’ll be glad you did.
2) Follow your passion but be open to the idea that your passion might change and evolve over the years as you do. Don’t be afraid to change course and go in a different direction. You’re allowed to have second thoughts, about what you want to do and how you intend to spend your life.