Tuesday, May 24, 2011

O The Places

It's graduation season. PreK, Kindergarten, High School, College, Grad School - graduates left and right.

Borders, Barnes & Noble, independent bookstores and probably Hallmark are selling their annual boost of this Dr. Seuss classic, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

I'm a fan of Dr. Seuss. And this book is indeed a classic, well versed and well gifted for such an occasion.

We have multiple copies.

I read it to the boys again recently, their bedtime story of choice.

A few of my favorite excerpts...

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you'll head straight out of town.

It's opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

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.

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

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

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right...
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.
I'm afraid that sometimes
you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you'll be quite a lot.

And when you're alone, there's a very good chance
you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.

Stop right there. Tyler was stuck on this page. He really didn't want to turn the next. He needed to think on this page, this stanza, this illustration. The things between hither and yon, the things that will scare you right out of your pants.

Even as I pushed him further, he kept flipping back to this page.

Things that will scare you. He was stuck.

Eventually, we finished the book, with my gentle prodding.

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.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

And as I kissed him good night, he flipped back to that page. He lingered.

I whispered to him the seeds he and I have been sewing into his heart, "Be strong a courageous, kiddo. The Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Lie down and sleep in peace, for God will keep you safe."

"Good night, Mommy."

"Good night, sweet boy."

I'm pretty sure we both fell asleep thinking of that page.


Cristi said...

Oh tears.

Terry said...

i always liked dr. seuss tricia but i have never heard of this book.
it has such deep meanings, and just to think that tyler listened to it and that page he kept turning back to IS pretty sacry.
how good it was that you told him,
, "Be strong a courageous, kiddo. The Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Lie down and sleep in peace, for God will keep you safe."...and you know what tricia, those "seeds" that you were planting into his little heart have more than taken root in your own heart and are flourishing!
love terry

"for so he giveth his beloved sleep."