How Dr. Seuss Has Taught Me

Dr. Seuss is an author who strove to teach children lessons through his words. His books read like children’s novels, but the writing is invaluable. One of my favorite books is Oh, the Places You’ll Go! My friend gave this book to me as a graduation present. I read it a few weeks later and marveled at the sound advice. These lines especially caught my eye.

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 best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

I am not a career woman. I am a stay-at-home mom. Yet, I feel these words resounding in my head.

As a child I imagined myself as the best mother ever. I knew I would love my children with all my heart and avoid all the mistakes my parents made. I would be their best friend, counselor, and greatest support.

These fantasies were important. While I have learned that their is no such thing as a perfect mother, I can still strive to be the best mother. But, even when I’m not, because sometimes I won’t be (too often, I fear), I must continue on. Each day brings new chances.

My daughter is young enough that she won’t remember the mistakes I made the previous day. Yet, as she gets older, she will remember them. She may even hold them over my head. However, if I try my hardest to say those important words, those that can often be the hardest to utter, the words I’m sorry, I will be doing my best.

I can still be my daughter’s best friend, counselor, and greatest support. As the years have gone by, I have rearranged these ideals and grouped them under the all encompassing category of Mother. I will nurture and love, support and encourage, comfort and counsel.

Above all, I will pray. I believe I cannot do this alone. If I tried, I would too often allow those “Bang-ups” and “Hang-ups” to dishearten me.

I will be strong. I will ignore those deceiving thoughts that tell me “You are imperfect. You will never amount to what you think you should be. You will ruin your children.” Yes, I am imperfect, but I am learning. I have friends and acquaintances who guide me, uplift me, and remind me of how great I am. I have a support system.

As Dr. Seuss said,

But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.

On and on you will hike.
And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

That is what I have learned today.



Filed under lessons from a rocking chair

9 responses to “How Dr. Seuss Has Taught Me

  1. Aidan Donnelley Rowley

    I love Dr. Suess. Thanks for bringing me back to his words, at once simple and sage. And I love your words here. How compelling to admit that you had those fantasies of perfection (didn't we all?) and that they haven't quite come true. They never do. Life is about navigating channels of imperfection, exquisite imperfection, about making mistakes (and constantly) and forgiving ourselves for these mistakes. I am really happy to have found your blog!

  2. BigLittleWolf

    Oh dear… And I'm just getting over a caseOf Rhymatoid ArtWriteUs all over the place!Seeing the doc (a hero, for sure)Is likely to give me a taste for some more!Listen my friend, there is no perfection(Please do forgive me this rhyming infection…)All moms and dads have their good days and bad,Saying I'm Sorry's the best tool I've hadTo show my two kids growing up that it's fineTo be HUMAN, and trying, sometimes cross the line – And that includes grownups who know when we're wrong,But love, and our honesty – that makes them strong.

  3. Kimberly

    Oh the profundity of that book – I just love it! And love the parallels you've drawn between its message and your own life. Very inspiring!

  4. Nicki

    Thanks so much for reminding me of this book. Your words ring as true as Dr Suess's words do.

  5. Yvonne

    Beautiful post. Love what you wrote about the importance of saying "I'm sorry"–I hate to admit it, but it took me a few years to figure that one out. It really needs to be said.Thanks for the reminder about that book–it's been years since I've read it. I think I need to find it again ; )

  6. Sarah

    Wolf is right. Love and honesty. Above all, honesty. Starting from birth. Because kids can handle much more than most parents believe that they can, if you just tell them to truth with words they understand.As perfect in my imperfect as I can be. That is the line I live by.TodayRight now.

  7. Ambrosia

    Aidan: How true. I think life is full of repenting and forgiving. This is true for anyone who has family (which is to say everyone). BLW: Oh, you are so clever! I am amazed at your rhyming capabilities, they are as excellent as your writing : )."To show my two kids growing up that it's fineTo be HUMAN, and trying, sometimes cross the line -And that includes grownups who know when we're wrong,But love, and our honesty – that makes them strong."These lines are beautiful in their clarity. It is so tough to tell our children that we are human! I want them to think I am superwoman, but I make mistakes and they will inevitably see through my facade. This will not be if I tell them the truth. Kimberly: Thank you! Dr. Seuss is a very inspiring author.Nicki: Thank you!Yvonne: It is never too late to learn how to say I'm sorry. I am still learning! I think we all have fears of admitting our vices, but we all have vices. Let me be open: I am prideful. It will take all my will power to say sorry to my husband. He is not as prideful as me (thank heavens!). Please pick up Dr. Seuss, he has excellent words!Sarah: You are amazing. I know you are super busy with 6 kids (!!!). Kids have unbelievable guileless. There is a reason Jesus told us all to become like little children. "As perfect as my imperfect as I can be." What a remarkable, and very true, line to live by. I think I will type that up and put it on my computer!

  8. TKW

    BLW: I see a future for you in kiddie lit! Awesome!And wow, I sympathize. I wake up every day hoping to be SuperMommy, and by the end of the day, I realize that I'm just Partially Proficient Mommy. But my heart is in the right place.I can't believe that the real Dr. Seuss didn't like kids…he gets to the heart of things in such an accessible way…I am a particular fan of Oh The Places You'll Go!

  9. Eowyn

    You just gave me a whole new insight in to that book (which makes it on my top ten list of faves! [there is no such thing as number one])!Thanks!