Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
By Dr. Seuss
Theodor Seuss Geisel aka Dr. Theophrastus Seuss, the pen name he once used in his career as writer, poet and cartoonist, popped into my head the other day and the title of the above book that entered my life 40 years ago – on my wedding day. Strange you might say that a picture book could be a touchstone to a turning point in ones life, but that is exactly what “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” was to me on June 16, 1973.
My husband and I sat in Fordham Chapel and waited for his brother, a Jesuit, to begin the homily at our wedding. Okay, so I figured it would be deeply theological and filled with literary references on love. It was, in a way, but the references were solely on a book by Dr. Seuss. Hmm, I thought, a bit disappointed as I listened, “Where is all this going?” It was going to a great place via a great book with a great message for the young traveler – on the road to a new marriage, a new career or a new anything in life.
As the book starts out and we do too on any of the above-mentioned journeys, we are filled with optimism, heads filled with the endless possibilities that life holds. NOTHING can dampen the enthusiasm we feel for this initially perfect, mistake-free future we seek. But as Dr. Seuss and Fr. Tom oh so practically phrase it:
I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly it’s true
can happen to you.
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 from your left.
Taken as a whole it’s probably one of the best and most succinct pieces of advice for a young couple starting out, never mind young ones starting off on their own first life adventures.
In his humorous verse, Dr. Seuss has built in a story with wit and wisdom for the newly wed or the newly graduated from kindergarten or even high school or college.
Fun, fame, choice, and being alone all figure into the trip. And while your child is turning the pages to this wonderful book, they are also learning some of the foundations of that new buzzword called “emotional intelligence”: the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Being a child in 2013 requires an ability to negotiate and become resilient to the ups and downs of life when the unexpected occurs requiring both patience and tenacity!
“Oh, the Places You’ll Go” is the perfect beginning picture book roadmap for children on the journey of life, plus they are the main character.
And hey, it helped me too on that long ago June day when I muttered to myself, “What can a picture book teach me?” Well….. I’ve been married 40 years. You go Dr. Seuss! Life is the Great Balancing Act!
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