A while back I wrote a post about the wisdom of Dr Seuss, and I pulled some quotes from my favourite book, Oh The Places You’ll Go. I’m doing another Dr Seuss post (“But you’ve already done,” exclaimed Dad) to share some of the advice I wish I would’ve thought of myself (and then we could retire and read books all day long, and role-play Dr Seuss books. Imagine the fun!).
Although I’m in the job of words and perhaps it’s expected that I pen all my own, I am so inspired and motivated by so much writing, so I sometimes go by that. When I was a teen, I used to copy down poems and write down song lyrics as I listened to them – this was in the day before lyrics and poems could be accessed online (can you even conceive?). The Doors, Morrissey, Pink Floyd, Robert Frost and Dylan Thomas helped me through crappy times and gave me self-help, and while I hope I can give you my own words, I hope that you’ll be moved and helped by the genius prose out there.
And will you succeed? Yes indeed, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed.
Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.
From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.
I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!
I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.
If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.
So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.
Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.
Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!
Today is gone. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.
Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
You are you. Now, isn’t that pleasant?
You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room.
You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.
One of the many things I love doing with you is reading. Real books. Not just on the iPad or Kindle. I have started collecting books for you, and love it when I get them on sale, from work or as gifts.
One of my all-time favourite authors is Dr Seuss. The guy is a genius and when I bought a set of eight of his books just after you were born, I was secretly buying them for myself as well. So while they sit on your bookshelf, I read them often. It’s hard reading this book to you because your little paws want to tear the pages so I’ve gotten smart – I give you the hardcover almost indestructible (at last count anyway) picture books, while I read from Dr Seuss.
One of my favourite Dr Seuss books is Oh The Places You’ll Go! It’s seriously one of the most beautiful and wise books, and more powerful than The Secret, The Seven Habits, The Power of Now and every other self-help book I’ve bought. This is therapy in a beautifully illustrated to-the-point and smart book, and one every kid – and his parent – should read. I read it to you when you were just a few weeks old, and I wept every time I read it (in part because my boobs were a little sore, and because I was resting the book on my flabby post-birth tummy, which hasn’t really gone down since).
Some of my favourite lines include:
“You have brains in your head
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
Any direction you choose”
“And when things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.”
“You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
“You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left”.
Max, I wish I could protect you from all of life’s hurts, and all the kak out there. I wish I could make sure your path is always well and safely paved. But as moms and Dr Seuss know, regardless of how hard we try to protect, there’ll be bang-ups, hang-ups, lurches and slumps. And I’ll try make it better with lift-ups, hug-ups, kisses and fixing of humps.
Watch your way in the world, and I will too. “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way!”