In today's Wall Street Journal:
Don Chance, a finance professor at Louisiana State University, says it dawned on him last spring. The semester was ending, and as usual, students were making a pilgrimage to his office, asking for the extra points needed to lift their grades to A's.Only someone with a cursory knowledge of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood would make this claim. Hard work and high expectations? Consider the many visitors to the neighborhood who talk about and demonstrate their hard-earned abilities: violinist Itzhak Perlman and gymnast Chaney Umphrey, for instance. Or consider the ways in which Mister Rogers himself bumbles and struggles when trying to learn a new skill (often, as I remember, in Negri's Music Shop). Consider too that being "special" is something that comes with a context: "You are my friend. You're special to me." That's a statement not about innate grandeur but about the way someone else sees you.
"They felt so entitled," he recalls, "and it just hit me. We can blame Mr. Rogers."
Fred Rogers, the late TV icon, told several generations of children that they were "special" just for being whoever they were. He meant well, and he was a sterling role model in many ways. But what often got lost in his self-esteem-building patter was the idea that being special comes from working hard and having high expectations for yourself.
What I always hear in Mister Rogers' closing words is something quite different from an encouragement to narcissism: "There's just one person in the whole world like you. And people can like you just the way you are." In my ears, those words sound as a reminder of the beauty and mystery of individuality, offering consolation to children whose circumstances — clothes, speech, family situation — put them at a remove from others.
Self-esteem is busting out all over, but I think there are more likely causes to finger. Stay out of my 'hood.
Blame It on Mister Rogers: Why Young Adults Feel So Entitled (Wall Street Journal)
The inverse power of praise