When I was 21 years old, someone gifted me Dr. Seuss’ book Oh, the Places You'll Go! when I graduated from college. I remember reading the following lines:
THE PLACES YOU'LL GO!
You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.
Those six lines changed me forever. I read them and knew I was starting a new and exciting phase in my life. They pushed me to try something new, take risks and become independent. I thought it was just a kid’s book but it proved to be so much more.
Every single word in that book has proven to be true. There are times when you soar and times when you crash. There are times when you make very good decisions and times when you make very bad ones. You will meet wonderful, helpful people and mean, terrible individuals. You will get hurt and you will triumph. It’s part of living and growing up.
After I started my career and got married, Oh, the Places You'll Go! sort of went to the back burner. I had achieved great things, made my mistakes and was at a good place in my life. In my 20’s I really took Dr. Seuss’ words to heart but in my 30’s, I had reached a “happy” place and could stick Seuss on my bookshelf again.
Dr. Seuss’ birthday was on March 2nd and this year, the National Education Association celebrated it by launching a big Read Across America campaign. They had Lorax stars Danny DeVito and Zac Efron read some of Dr. Seuss’ books and this got the whole country on a reading Seussathon!
That whole day, I followed friends’ Facebook posts and tweets about Dr. Seuss and quotes from Oh, the Places You'll Go! appeared everywhere.
When I got home, I pulled my college graduation copy off the bookshelf and read it to my two year old daughter. As she quietly listened and followed the words with her little finger, I found myself on the verge of tears.
I used to read this book and it was all about me but now, it has a completely different meaning. I read lines like, “You're off to Great Places! You're off and away!” and realized that now, these words are all meant for my little girl. She has a head full of brains and shoes full of feet, and she is now the one that needs to soar. Whether it’s going to the potty for the first time or riding a tricycle, this is HER time to go places.
As her mother, I can only hope she won’t go down the not-so-good streets, but I know sometimes she will. I also know that wherever she flies, she'll be the best of the best and wherever she goes, she will top all the rest.
And so, I’d like to thank Dr. Seuss. In a harsh world, he has been, and continues to be, a source of positive reinforcement to countless generations.