Special Snowflakes

There’s a common complaint against Millenials – that they think of themselves as a “special snowflake.” That is, to say, they are entitled.

Now, first of all, anyone who is prepared to level charges against a whole generation of people is undoubtedly feeling entitled themselves.

Surely, some young people are lazy, entitled, or otherwise self-centered, but there is no indication that these traits are somehow limited to those under 30. Nor is it clear that the younger population possess an abnormally large share of people with these traits.

Let’s be honest. A lot of people are self-centered. It’s just that when you’re an adult, being self-centered somehow becomes your prerogative.

The term “special snowflake” is used because no two snowflakes are alike. Each is unique. Theoretically, it’s this quality of being unique which makes young people feel that they are special. That they deserve special treatment.

Again, it’s far from true that “all young people” feel any way – much less all feel special – but that’s the idea behind the phrase.

But that assumption misses the point. To say that “being special” is equivalent to “feeling entitled,” overlooks a deeper truth.

Every person is special. Every person is unique. Every person is different. Every person is a “special snowflake.”

Some would take this even further and argue that every life is special, every living being unique. No two trees grow the same.

But this specialness, this uniqueness, isn’t a reason to feel entitled. It isn’t a reason to feel above everybody else.

It’s a reason to commit to diverse communities. A reason to fight for justice and equality. A reason to hold every life sacred and to give every voice power.

Yes, you are a special snowflake. Just like every body else.

And it’s your duty to help all your neighbor snowflakes flourish. Because we are each different and we are each unique.

The loss of even one voice, even one, degrades the whole.


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