Tag Archives: advice

In Celebration of International Women’s Day

9 Mar
A Wall of Student Artwork at Henry G. Izaat School

A Wall of Student Artwork at Henry G. Izaat School

In celebration of International Women’s Day (a day late), I post this latest instalment of student letters of advice to Echo. These students reach back in mythic time to bolster Echo’s spirits and to give her the confidence to believe in herself instead of pining away over Narcissus. While students project their insights toward a figure outside of themselves, in fact they are finding out about their own inner wisdom and resources for self-sufficiency.

Echo is a part of every person’s psyche. We all have the capacity to undervalue ourselves and overvalue others, even when they are negative towards us. Writing these letters helps students to strengthen their own ability to achieve self-love. For women around the world, the ability to live with independence and pride is essential to the well-being of humankind.

An Engaged Student's Rendition of Echo in the Cave

An Engaged Student’s Rendition of Echo in the Cave

Letter One

Ms. Echo,
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

I’m so sorry that you got so let down that you’re hiding in a cave wasting away. But you should really go out and have fun. You could meet people and go out. Just leave the cave soon. You could go on a train and leave to go somewhere and have a party. You could also find another guy.

Yours Truly, L.

Letter Two

Ms. Echo,
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

I’m sorry about what happened to you with Narcissus. He is not worth your love. He is handsome but not kind. But to move on, you might want to try making a friend to help you get through it. Believe me, your friends will make you feel a lot better! Think about what you love to do, like soccer or dancing. Try to join some kinds of club, because I promise, doing what you want to do for once will make you feel a lot more confident. Try to think about what you’re good at and try to realize that there are many things that you are good at. You are very good at many things. I guarantee it.

Yours Truly, I.

Letter Three

Ms. Echo,
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

Echo, stop lurking and weeping in a cave. Go to your parents and get some friends. Don’t be fooled by looks. Narcissus is a handsome little demon. That’s all! He is MEAN!!

Find someone with a similar personality. That will most likely be the best choice. Now go and don’t just be a voice. Be a person. Have a happy life!

Yours Truly, C.

Letter Four

Ms. Echo,
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

Hello Echo. I’m Ch. I read your story. So tragic. You deserve better. Even though he was beautiful, it matters what’s on the inside. You’re pretty and forgot what matters.

I suggest what you would love to do. You could become a model because of your beauty. A beauty pageant contestant and you could just let someone love you for you!

Yours Truly, Ch.

Letter Five

Vibrant Student Color Work of Adorable Baby Narcissus

Vibrant Student Color Work of Adorable Baby Narcissus

Ms. Echo,
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

Please leave your cave! Find someone who really loves you! You are so much better than you think! Please join civilization! Find a group where you belong. Let me tell you this: hiding is not a good solution! Live your life! Enjoy all the good things that will happen if you leave your cave. Please, oh please, listen!

Yours Truly, N.

Letter Six

Ms. Echo,
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

You have to leave the cave and try to make friends outside or join a club. You always have to focus on yourself and not on Narcissus :). Don’t mind him. You just have to believe in yourself!

Yours Truly,  B.

Letter Seven

Ms. Echo,
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

Don’t you feel so lonely in your caves? Stop swooning over Narcissus. Get out there more! Go back to your village. Find some friends. Join a club. Just make sure you don’t spend all your time wasting away in those dark, cold, lonely caves.

Yours Truly, M. 🙂

Letter Eight

Ms. Echo,
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

I’m so sorry to hear that you have been hiding in caves.

I will give you some advice. You should try to make some friends. Stay out of caves and you will have lots of friends. Be more proud and believe in you. Believe you can achieve.

Yours Truly, M.

Letter Nine

Ms. Echo,
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

I am so sorry that you hide in caves, hiding from the world. But it does not have to be that way. If you want to live your life right, by caring about yourself more. Tell yourself that you are beautiful. Say that you can do anything that you try to do. And you could go to a town and try to make friends by entering a dance group or a dance competition. Those are some ways to be happy.

Yours Truly, M.

In my next entry, readers will find more letters to Narcissus, that mythological fellow whose lack of empathy is remarkable…

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Letters of Advice to Narcissus

7 Mar
Students at Henry G. Izaat Write Letters to Narcissus

Students at Henry G. Izaat Write Letters to Narcissus

To recap the pertinent aspect of the Echo and Narcissus myth to which these next student letters refer—the nymph Echo was one of the many who fell in love with Narcissus in his teen years. When Echo went to hug Narcissus, he rebuffed her, uttering the cruel pronouncement that he would rather die than let her touch him. He went on scorning and shaming others, until the god Nemesis answered a victim’s prayer and gave Narcissus a taste of his own medicine, causing Narcissus to fall in love with his own reflection. After days of not eating or drinking, and of wailing and crying, Narcissus died and was transformed into a flower.

Students at Henry G. Izaat came up with these letters of advice for Narcissus that run the gamut from stern compassion to silliness to cheeky suggestions that Narcissus should get a grip. I hope you enjoy these charming epistles as much as I did!

Narcissus Admires his Reflection As Echo Pines Away,
as Coloured by Student Artist

Letter One

Mr. Narcissus,
c/o 1 Watery Pool,
Ancient Greece

Dear Mr. Narcissus,

Stop bullying people! It’s not nice. People don’t like it. How would you feel if you got treated like that? Echo is hiding in a cave and doesn’t want to come out because of you. Good job. You ruined her life.
Yours Truly, C.

Letter Two

Mr. Narcissus,
c/o 1 Watery Pool,
Ancient Greece

Dear Mr. Narcissus,

Please don’t waste your life at the edge of the pond. Some advice is [to] start carrying a mirror around so you can leave the pond and go to the village to meet some new friends. And the second step is to get rid of the reflections. Get a picture of yourself and put it in your pocket. Once you feel sad or lonely, pull it out until you feel better. Have fun in town and I hope my advice was good.

Yours Truly, C.

Letter Three

Mr. Narcissus,
c/o 1 Watery Pool,
Ancient Greece

Dear Mr. Narcissus,

Why waste your time when you could be a butler until they find the Swiffer Sweeper and you end up in the basement with the broom and start singing that song that goes, “Who’s that lady? Who’s that sexy lady, who’s that lady.” Anyways, good luck at your modelling and think about others.

Yours Truly, M.

Letter Four

Mr. Narcissus,
c/o 1 Watery Pool,
Ancient Greece

Dear Mr. Narcissus,

You don’t [have] to be mean or a bully. How you treated people is so not nice. Do you even say that when you’re talking to your mom? Don’t do that anymore. Now that you saw your reflection, you may understand why people act like that around you. They love you. You should be nicer and more lovable. You made Echo feel terrible. She’s thinking [she’ll] just hide in her cave for a long time, maybe even forever. You’re lucky people love you, but if you act mean to them, that love goes away. On the other hand, if you’re nice and kind, you will gain a lot of friends, so don’t be mean. Be kind, nice, and positive. Write back.

Yours Truly, N.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

More Pleasing Student Colour Work of Narcissus by the Pool

Letter Five

Mr. Narcissus,
c/o 1 Watery Pool,
Ancient Greece

Dear Mr. Narcissus,

You need to get a grip on your life. You have been crying over your own reflection. You should learn from your crying over yourself and not being able to hug yourself. Imagine how Echo felt when you said you would rather die before she would touch you. She gave up her powers for you. You should apologize to her. Also, dry off. Eat some food and have some water.

Yours Truly, C.

Letter Six

Mr. Narcissus,
c/o 1 Watery Pool,
Ancient Greece

Dear Mr. Narcissus,

Stop being so beautiful. Get some plastic surgery to get ugly. Then put an L on your forehead and stop being so mean. Look in the mirror. You look ugly to me.

Yours Truly, Y.

Letter Seven

Mr. Narcissus,
c/o 1 Watery Pool,
Ancient Greece

Dear Mr. Narcissus,

Hi Narcissus. Some advice is to stop being so mean and selfish to others. Treat them the way you want to be treated. If you don’t want to talk to them, just politely ask them to stop. If you didn’t want Echo to hug you, you could have said something nicer than I would rather die than touch you. If you made some friends, then you wouldn’t feel so lonely and then you could love yourself again in self-love, not because you are beautiful. Then people would really love you and there wouldn’t be so much hate. You should take some class to help you be nicer and actually love yourself.

Yours Truly, S.

Letter Eight

Mr. Narcissus,
c/o 1 Watery Pool,
Ancient Greece

Dear Mr. Narcissus,

Stop. Loving. Yourself. You have much more to life than looking at yourself. And find a little lady that you love! You should be in a pageant! There, you can show off your “BEAUTIFUL” inner and outer self. You would win every time!

You could also take up a sport or a hobby. Get your mind off of that pretty face of yours and try and help some other people. You could give to charities or other organizations.

Yours Truly, K.

A Student Artist Colours the Transformed Narcissus

A Student Artist Colours the Transformed Narcissus

My next post ups the ante further as more students encourage Echo to believe in herself–a perfect entry for International Women’s Day!

Letters of Advice to Echo

5 Mar
Henry G. Izaat Students Writing Advice to Echo

Henry G. Izaat Students Writing Advice to Echo

The famous twin sister advice columnists, Pauline Phillips of “Dear Abby” and Eppie Lederer of “Ask Ann Landers,” would no doubt have agreed that the following student letters of advice to Echo are full of admirable common sense—with a welcome pinch of tongue-in-cheek thrown into the mix. Student art works are so pleasing too. Enjoy!

Poor Echo

Poor Echo, Illustration Color Work by Student Artist

Letter One

Ms. Echo
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

I feel sorry for you! So here is some advice: I think you should just forget about Narcissus and go do what you love. Maybe you should join an art club or a group of friends. Learn to love yourself!

Believe in yourself! Know that there is more to you than what Narcissus says. You’re beautiful and you already have lots of potential! So what are you waiting for? Get out of that cave and live your life the way you should!

Yours Truly, A.W.

Letter Two

Ms. Echo
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

I think that you should go back to your village and find someone else and eat instead of wasting away.

True love isn’t about looks. It’s about what’s on the inside.

Yours Truly, D.

Letter Three

Ms. Echo
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

I’m so sad to hear that you are hiding in caves. You are so beautiful and kind. You just need confidence. Some people think Narcissus is really mean. I think you let him control you too much. You shouldn’t let Narcissus control you. You are your own person. I think that you should go to the town and meet some people and make friends. You need to be confident.

Yours Truly, S.J.

Letter Four

Ms. Echo
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

I wish you weren’t hiding in a cave!!! We could be best friends or you could have met new friends. You could play hockey, or go into acting. Do anything to get your mind off of Narcissus.

All you’ve got to do is believe.

Yours Truly, T.

More Fine Student Color Work

More Fine Student Color Work

Letter Five

Ms. Echo
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

How come you always hide away in your cave? Go outside and find yourself a hobby you’ll enjoy! I’m sure you’ll find a great friend! You should really take a look in the mirror. You are really beautiful.

You are a sweet and kind girl with a loving heart. You had sympathy for Narcissus when he drowned. I hope you find true love again!

Yours Truly, M.

Letter Six

Ms. Echo
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

Echo! Come on, get out of that cave. Go outside. Meet some nice friends. Meet a guy that loves you for you, not like how Narcissus treated you. That was just mean and rude. And even though you got cursed to echo everybody, it doesn’t matter because it is not your fault. Go join some clubs, like dancing, hockey, rhythmic gymnastics. Eat! There is more than a million people in the world. That means that there will be a perfect match for you and that guy. Think of the positives, not the negatives.

Yours Truly, S.T.

Letter Seven

Ms. Echo,
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

Hello! I’m C. and I’m here to give some advice. Stop trying! He’s not meant for you! You’re B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. He will most likely change you! I’m sure anyone would like you. They’ll date you. But he’s selfish and only cares about himself.

Well, BYE-BYE.

Yours Truly, C.

Letter Eight

Ms. Echo,
c/o 1 Echoey Cave
Ancient Greece

Dear Ms. Echo,

You have a great voice! You should be an auction person or you can be a news reporter. I feel bad that your heart got broken. You don’t have to hide in your cave. Go out and find a new man. It doesn’t matter about looks. It’s what’s inside the heart.

Yours Truly, B.

Narcissus as a Flower, More Fine Student Color Work

Narcissus as a Flower, More Fine Student Color Work

Now you’ve read some letters of advice to Echo, watch for the upcoming letters of advice to that narcissistic Narcissus!

The Age-Old Problem of Unrequited Love

4 Mar
Available in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store

Available in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store

Love is a concept and state of being with which we humans have no end of difficulty. Navigating the waters of relationships can be nerve-wracking, to say the least. Crushes are a feature of school life (and life ever after) that create endless drama. Students are intensely sensitive as to whether or not they are being accepted by their peers—and they feel romantic yearnings throughout their schooldays. Within the relationship dramas that evolve, feelings can be hurt and callous behavior can amount to bullying. Difficulties in love plague us throughout life…and how much better to be able to enter into a consideration of problems and solutions early on.

In the next series of posts, I share with readers some wise, humorous, creative student letters of advice to the lovelorn from my recent Artists in the Schools visit to four Grade Six classrooms in Winnipeg’s Henry G. Izaat school. I found these letters so thoroughly entertaining, as did the students, and I felt hope for the human condition as one after another student brought lively insight to bear on the age-old problem of unrequited love. Readers of all ages will find lively messages that delight and instruct.

During this artist visit, I led the wonderfully imaginative and responsive students through a set of activities that turned students’ usual Valentine’s Day focus away from the romantic idealization of the other to an emphasis on self-love. As I reminded students, in order to truly love another, we have to love ourselves! To immerse students in the concepts, I introduced them to Ovid’s two thousand year old book, The Metamorphoses of Ovid (translated by Mary M. Innes, England, Penguin Books Ltd., 1955), in particular to the tale of Narcissus and Echo, a tale of teenage love gone wrong.

Baby Narcissus Adored by All

Baby Narcissus Adored by All

To recap the story for readers, the baby, Narcissus (born to the river god Cephisus and the nymph Liriope) was so beautiful that everyone around him fell in love with him.

When Narcissus was in his mid-teens, a young nymph named Echo was one of the many who fell in love with him. Her problem was that she had been cursed by Juno into always repeating the words of others. She followed Narcissus and wished to tell him of her love, but she had to wait until he spoke words she could imitate. Narcissus heard her echoing his words, and challenged her to come out of hiding, which she did, with arms outstretched to hug him. Full of pride, Narcissus said he would rather die than be touched by Echo. Humiliated, Echo hid in caves, where she wasted away until all that was left of her was her voice that endlessly repeated the words of others.

Echo Hiding in a Cave

Echo Hiding in a Cave

Meanwhile, Narcissus went on scorning and shaming others when they fell in love with him, until one of those shamed people prayed to the gods that Narcissus would fall in love with someone who wouldn’t return his love. The goddess of revenge, Nemesis, answered the prayer.

So it was that Narcissus, on a hot day, went into the forest to hunt deer. He came upon a still, mirroring pool, and knelt to take a cold drink. There, he saw his reflection for the first time, and thought the beautiful being was someone else. He fell immediately in love with himself, and reached forward to hug himself, but the watery surface broke the image.

Narcissus Falls in Love with Himself

Narcissus Falls in Love with Himself

Time and again he tried to reach himself, wailing and crying and despairing as time passed. For days, he pined away, not eating or drinking, until at last, he lay down on the shore, and died. Echo loved him until the end, echoing the mourners in their cries of grief. In his death, Narcissus was transformed into a narcissus flower (otherwise known of as a daffodil or jonquil), with a circle of white petals round a yellow centre.

Narcissus is Transformed into a Daffodil

Narcissus is Transformed into a Daffodil

After students read and absorbed the myth, they went on to answer questions about Narcissus’s and Echo’s choices and behavior, after which they reflected on the nature of true love and self love. In my next post, see the wonderful student color work on pictures I provided and read their animated letters of advice to Narcissus and Echo….