As the time we have in school before summer vacation become less and less, it is always important to remember to finish strong. Its not like I’m ordering you to finish strong, just it looks a lot better to people when they see that, even though you may have already gotten into a school for next year, you still push as hard as you would have if you hadn’t have gotten into a school for next year. Not everybody has gotten into a school for next year, in fact, a lot of people (like myself did not even apply to schools), but if you have its still no excuse to kind of slack off in this last trimester, and its kind of like I said before, I’m not telling you to do this, its entirely your choice, I mean like, it would be good to take a break and not work as hard as you have all year and kind of wind down, but its important to remember as we move closer and closer to summer just to stick out the last couple months of school and not throw away everything that we have worked on all year and start focusing on finishing strong, not summer. You can focus on summer when it is finally here. Vacations have to be earned, you work hard for a couple months or maybe more, and after you get rewarded with a vacation, and summer is the vacation reward for the whole year. Like for example, I know a kid from my town (Wayland) that did not work very hard in school and he had to do summer school, this is because he did not earn his vacation. But it isn’t hard to tell that summer is on everybody’s minds, mine included, so leave Fenn this year on a good note, and ear that final vacation.
Here is the podcast version of the letter to my son about how I would like him to read the odyssey.
I want you to read The Odyssey. When you read the Odyssey, I would like you to observe some special things. I would like for you to look for certain themes. These themes I have spent countless minutes on, writing reviews on them for my English teacher in 8th grade Mr. Fitz. I want you to observe hospitality, because when you have people over and your household is not one with xenia, which is Greek for hospitality, those people most likely won't want to come back again. I would like you to observe cleverness, like when Odysseus told Polyphemus that his name was nobody, so that, when he and his men were gouging out Polyphemus’s eye, he would scream and yell, but when the other Cyclopes asked him what was happening, who is hurting you, he would reply: Nobody is hurting me. Giving off the illusion that nobody at all was hurting him, when in reality, Odysseus and his men were gouging his eye out. When you read this book, it will start out to be a very difficult read you will not understand much. Also, I never want you to be cocky, because, as you will read in the odyssey, this man was challenging Odysseus to all of these track and field events and was boasting that Odysseus will never beat him and that he is the best, and Odysseus agrees to play him in a challenge, and he beats him and shows him up, and shows him that he is not the best.
Son, I also would like you to never think that you are the best at something you do, because, there is somebody out there who is better than you at something, or maybe even the thing that you love, but you have to learn to accept that people are going to better at things that you. Once you accept that, then maybe you can excel to the top, and become the best. When I first started reading the Odyssey, I went into it thinking it was no problem at all, I was a very good reader with normal books, but the Odyssey was different, it pushed me to read harder in ways that made me thrive while reading it. Some books were even harder, even towards the end, but you just have to read harder, and you will thrive within this book, and when you finish, you will not believe that you finished it that quickly, what seemed to go by in hours when you first started, went by in seconds towards the end. It is a feeling of accomplishment when you finished. Not like a feeling when you get a lot of money from a job or something. An accomplishment of where you struggled but still got through it, but by the end, it came easy to you. But, I would like to warn you. After you read the odyssey, your boyhood will no longer exist, you will become a man. You must learn to take more responsibilities, the responsibilities of a man, not a boy. But, still remember to enjoy your boyhood while it lasts.
"Stand clear, put up your sword;
let me but taste of blood. I shall speak true." ~ The Odyssey Book 11, lines 106-7
Have you ever been pulled away, slowly, from something, or things, that you love, and the only thing that you can do about it, is watch. It had been a long day of fun with my family. We had been at a local amusement park for the whole day with my cousin. I was six, my sister was around three years old, and my cousin, was a little bit older than me. It was at the very end of the day, after we had all of our fun on the rides, we all decided to get something to eat at one of the restaurants that was in the amusement park. It seemed like an idea that almost everybody else in the amusement park had thought of and there were tremendous crowds traveling from the rides, to the restaurants. My sister, had been walking right next to my dad, along with my mom and my cousin, and my cousins mom. My cousin was wearing a bright pink dress. I was with them and I looked around and there were almost no restaurants in sight. I heard my parents consulting on whether or not we were going to eat here or not. I barely noticed, as I started to sink, further and further behind my family. When I noticed, I thought to myself, its no big deal, ill be able to see my dad. My dad is somewhat tall, and I could see him over all of the other heads. So I thought to myself. I’ll be okay, as long as I can still see his head. I’ll be okay, as long as I can still see his head. I’ll be okay, as long as I can still see his head. All I could do was watch, as his head got smaller, and smaller. Then, his head disappeared. I did not panic, I thought to myself, oh, they are not to far ahead, they couldn't be. I’ll just run up and they will be right there. They weren't. That, is when panic settled within me. I ran around, frantically asking people if they had seen any of my family. Desperately I asked, but nobody seemed to care, I described everybody in my family to them with great details, but nobody would help me. I was on my own, six years old, in a sea of people I did not know. I wondered to myself, what are my parents thinking right now, do they even know that I'm lost, of course they do, how could they not notice. I thought that maybe they would come back for me. But i realized, in this sea of people, they had just as much of a chance of finding me, as I did, finding them. Minutes felt like hours. Time slowed down, as I was still Talking to people, looking for my parents, it hit me. Food, restaurants, my family was going to eat, even though they were talking about eating outside of the amusement park there was still a chance that they would eat within it. It was a risk to take, but it was still a lead on finding them. The problem was, there were so many restaurants it was impossible to single out one. I searched for a little while longer with no results. I was still asking people for directions, except not to my family, I was asking for directions to the nearest restaurant. But still, nobody seemed to care, nobody would answer. Nobody would help me. I eventually found a restaurant but my hopes were low. It had no doors, just a opening, beckoning for me to enter, taunting me, I doubted that my family was in there, and i almost thought that I was right. I swear I searched that place inside out and did not find anything. It was when I was leaving, I saw a flash of pink, the color of my cousins dress. I followed the direction, and there was a back room, that I had not even notice, I was beckoned to it, slowly I walked towards it, my senses fading, I was hoping that that pink I had saw was real, and that my family was here. I suddenly heard the voice of my aunt, getting louder and louder, she had seen me, I ventured deeper into the back room, and saw my family waiting there for me. But when I talked to them, they didn't even notice that I was gone until a little while ago. But it didn’t matter, I had found my way back, like odysseus, finding his way home, and I was proud of myself, in a weird way, for getting lost, and finding my way back, without help. From then on, I have learned to keep up, because I had been warned that even though I found my way back that time. If it happened again, you never know what could happen.