I want you to read The Odyssey.
If my own life has been a predictor of the future, one of the greater joys of watching you grow will have been reading The Odyssey with you. By reading this book you will feel a greater understanding of life’s lessons and ultimately become a man. Not reading it would be a great disappointment. I would feel that I didn’t complete my role as a father.
When I read The Odyssey back when I was only 13, I felt like I knew more about where I was going. I became a more punctual and confident person. I felt like I could accomplish anything, if I really wanted to. You might even know if I had accomplished something great, since I am writing this for an English project back when I was in 8th grade.
Also, if you read The Odyssey around the age of 13, you will learn a bunch of pickup lines that girls will adore. Don’t lie, I know how you feel. And if you’re anything like me then you should have had a “crush” on at least one girl by now.
More importantly, though, The Odyssey also has a bunch of lessons to help you mature and “grow.” The theme that I learned the most from is the importance of perseverance. Odysseus, the main character, goes through so much, and kept his chin up the whole way. It’s an important life lesson to learn. Giving up means you have no chance to succeed. Perseverance doesn't necessarily mean that you won't fail, but it does make success possible.
Back when I was playing youth hockey, I was playing in a game when a player from the other team hit me, as hard as I’ve ever seen anyone get hit in youth hockey. He wasn't aiming to get the puck, or to make a nice play, he was just trying to get a kid on a stretcher. Unfortunately, I was the one he decided to hit. I came around the net with the puck and he was waiting for me. He put his hands right into my chest, and blew me up. I went down hard. My head went flying back and I hit it on the goalpost, and the ice.
I don’t know exactly how, it happened so fast, but after absorbing the blow, I bounced right back up onto my skates and slammed my stick on the ice. I was furious! Luckily for him, the referee stepped in and steered me to the side to see if I was concussed, because I was about to go “vengeful Odysseus” on him. You’ll find out what that means when you read the book. I persevered through the rest of the game (without a concussion).
I was taught by my dad and my other coaches that when someone makes a dirty play, you want to “take his number.” I’m expecting that by now, I’ve taught you that as well. I did, and as luck would have it, we played the same team later that same day. When I got the chance to, I wrecked the same kid who hit me, in the flow of the game of course. One of my teammates got him, too, right before the end of the second game, kneeing him where it hurts, if you know what I mean. Not intentionally, but he wasn’t sad it happened, either.
What I’m trying to tell you is that one of life’s most important lessons is when you get hit, whether literally or not, you need to get right back up. The Odyssey gives that message a very clear meaning.
Trust me, son, this book will change your life forever and give you a greater understanding of yourself. As long as you also read the Cliff Notes.