COMMENTARY 978.1: The Wisdom of Dr. Seuss

Observing the recent birthday of Dr. Seuss caused me to reflect on some of the profound lessons this modern-day philosopher taught with his exotically imaginative stories.

For example, whether I’m looking at my clock, my calendar, or observing how quickly my children change, he captures the surprise and wistful sadness I often feel: “How did it get so late so soon? My goodness, how the time has flewn.”

Then he softens the lament by urging us to look back on our lives with a positive perspective: “Don’t cry because it’s over, ” he writes. “Smile because it happened.”

His advice to help us find and celebrate our own uniqueness is timeless and wise.

“A person’s a person, no matter how small,” he tells us. “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

Dr. Seuss urges us not to fret too much about what others think. “Be who you are and say what you want, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

To get us started he tells us to get on our way. “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting.” But he also tells us to choose our own mountains and take control of our lives:

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 one
Who’ll decide where to go.

If you doubt the sincerity of my admiration, let me remind you of Horton who put it simply, “I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent.”

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Comments 3

  1. Excellent, Michael! One of your best! My long-time school Library Assistant mother, Margaret, would definitely “smile because [your commentary] happened.” I will share it with her at Easter. She quoted the good Doctor often, and she continues, at 92, to treat every “person [as] a person, no matter how small. Thank you, as always, for making me think, appreciate, and smile!

    Ed

  2. I’ve always enjoyed reading the writings of Dr. Seuss. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing them with my children, my students and my friends in my adult poetry class. The one you have posted today is a particularly good one to guide a persons life steps.

    Patrick

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