The Thing I Like About …

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters: when Tyson explains about the kids who are scared of him.

Tyson is a typical adolescent boy who has just met his half-brother Percy … but unlike Percy, Tyson is a Cyclops. He has one eye in the middle of his face, and he hides it by wearing sunglasses. But, as he explains to his brother, Tyson was walking in the woods one day and came across a group of Boy Scouts. The boys screamed at him and ran away. “I’m sure I smiled,” Tyson explains, looking sad. He obviously understands why the boys were scared – he knew he looked different from them – and he didn’t hold any grudge about it. But he had put his best face forward, and welcomed them, and they had run away anyway – so afraid of what they thought he might be that they were unable to see his smile.

Of course, we know he’s just a kid. We know that he’s not that sort of Cyclops that would just eat a bunch of Boy Scouts. We know because we … because we … because we’ve been getting to know him, listening to him talk about things, looking at his pleasant little face, and learning how sweet and kind he really is. We the audience know that Tyson is wonderful and good, because we’ve spent time with him.

We spent time with him because we didn’t think we needed to be afraid of him, or worry that he was the bad guy, or that he was going to hurt someone we cared about.

What if the Boy Scouts had taken that time?

What if the Boy Scouts had looked before feeling fear? They would have seen Tyson smile. They would have realized he just wanted to play with them. They would have treated him like any other kid who wandered into their camp – with concern, kindness, and welcome.

It turned out that the Boy Scouts were the ones who caused the pain. They were the ones who did things others might be afraid of; in their haste to fear harm instead of looking at what was really happening, the Scouts became the most hurtful thing in the woods that day.

What are you afraid of? And is it because of something you already know, or because of something you imagine, or suppose, or assume? What if the things you’re afraid of aren’t actually dangerous? What if you’re missing a lot of really good stuff – like a friendship with Tyson, and all of the adventures he can share with you – because you aren’t waiting long enough to see his smile?

More to the point, what does your fear make you do? Who do you become when you’re afraid? Who do you hurt in your frantic attempts to run away? How many Tysons are lined up behind you, wishing you would stop screaming and just come back and play?

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