A very interesting article over at “The Journal” (anyone still missing Imus in the morning?) about the challenges of the “tell-me-how-great-I-am” generation.
Can anyone on here relate to Mia?:
Some young adults are consciously calibrating their dependence on praise. In New York, Web-developer Mia Eaton, 32, admits that she loves being complimented. But she feels like she’s living on the border between a twentysomething generation that requires overpraise and a thirtysomething generation that is less addicted to it. She recalls the pre-Paris Hilton, pre-reality-TV era, when people were famous — and applauded — for their achievements, she says. When she tries to explain this to younger colleagues, “they don’t get it. I feel like I’m hurting their feelings because they don’t understand the difference.”
You mean, some people were famous because they DID STUFF?
No doubt the “you’re special” tendencies, where everyone gets a trophy, papers are graded with purple pens, and people are praised just for showing up has its downfalls. Apparently corporations have tried to accommodate this ridiculousness. Bank of America even has a “Senior Vice President of Recognition and Rewards.” But some feel that it’s not enough; that there needs to be an adjustment in the praise philosophy:
In the end, ego-stroking may feel good, but it doesn’t lead to happiness, says Prof. Twenge, the narcissism researcher, who has written a book titled “Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — and More Miserable than Ever Before.” She would like to declare a moratorium on “meaningless, baseless praise,” which often starts in nursery school. She is unimpressed with self-esteem preschool ditties, such as the one set to the tune of “Frère Jacques”: “I am special/ I am special/ Look at me…”
I’ve always felt that the constant praise felt better for the parent, teacher, or employer than it did for the praisee. Meanwhile I grabbed a book the other day (at a library sale) titled, The Road to Whatever: Middle-Class Culture and the Crisis of Adolescence, which takes the opposite tack: that the middle-class culture of meritocracy and “tough love” is ruining our young people. Aaaah…the search for balance, it’s never-ending.