My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Saturday, November 25, 2023

November 25-26, 2023: My Biggest Thanks-giving

[For this year’s Thanksgiving series, I wanted to express thanks for a handful of opportunities I’ve had to connect with scholarly communities this Fall. Leading up to this special tribute to my two most important scholarly influences!]

On three of the countless ways my sons inspire my own continued work.

1)      Last year’s amazing efforts: In June I dedicated one of my Saturday Evening Post Considering History columns to two projects from the past school year through which my sons had taught me a lot about my own work on and goals for both the past and the future. It’s one of my favorite columns across these nearly six years I’ve been at the Post, so would ask you to check it out if you could and then come on back for two such influences from this current year!

2)      Kyle on Frederick Douglass: I have mixed feelings about the school work my sons are asked to do over the summer (and I certainly think there’s more of it than there needs to be), but this past summer it was certainly fun to chat with Kyle about one of his summer reading texts (for AP Lang), Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. And even more fun was reading the essay that Kyle eventually wrote analyzing Douglass’ rhetorical strategies in that narrative—his arguments about how Douglass challenged ideas about slavery and sought to connect with a white Northern audience were as thoughtful and impressive as his writing always is, but also helped me think about both the continued need for subjects like Black history (and specific topics like the histories of American slavery) and about connecting with distinct audiences (a lifelong goal of my own work).

3)      Aidan’s college essays: It’s late November of Aidan’s senior year, and I’m still far from ready to truly contemplate him being somewhere else next year. But he’s doing a great job convincing me he’s more than ready for all that’s next, and a big part of that has been his amazing work on all the pieces of writing that are now part of college applications (both the main personal essay and the many college-specific supplemental essays). His main personal essay was a profoundly thoughtful, moving, funny, and inspiring look at his vegetarianism and its connection to many other layers of his life and identity, and it made me want to be a better person. And one particular supplemental essay, where he wrote about the importance of challenging prejudices and how he hopes to make that work a part of his life at and beyond college, gave me hope for the future. Can’t beat those influences, on my scholarship and everywhere else!

Next series starts Monday,


PS. People, communities, or anything else you’re thankful for this year?

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