I’m the decider and I decide what’s best. And what’s best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense.”
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.
–Dr. Seuss, The Places You’ll Go!
Given the choice between George Bush, the blithely confident blithering idiot of a “decider” and Dr. Seuss’ wonderfully confused and uncertain “mind-maker-upper” I know which I prefer. Give me Seuss anyday.
This post was really meant to be a paean to Dr. Seuss’ wonderful, Oh, The Places You’ll Go, which I just read for the first time to my 5 year old son. But when I read the line quoted above I thought: “This is a terrific counter-weight to George Bush’s “I’m the decider” lunacy. I couldn’t let the chance for drawing a political moral pass by without grabbing it.
Oh, The Places You’ll Go is one of the most extraordinary Seuss books I’ve read. It has all the crazy-quilt word play of his best work (my son, Jonah specifically wanted me to remind you of that) along with a profound psychological and philosophical meditation on the ups and downs of human existence. The author encourages his child readers to have confidence that they can move mountains if they wish. But he also warns them that life has road blocks and pitfalls in store. When the world is at your feet you have to remember that there will also be times when you will be sad or confused or have to walk alone:
Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.
Except when they don’t.
Because sometimes they won’t.
I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.
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.
This is powerful stuff for a children’s book. It’s not the swill the sometimes passes for cute children’s literature. This is the real deal warning the child that life has some curves in store. Luckily, Seuss doesn’t stay down too long. Before you know it he’s back to his old, irrepressible self:
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 guarantied.)
KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Modecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!
I also like the notion that no matter what your class or ethnicity you have great prospects in store for you. This is children’s literature wisdom for the ages. For which we must thank the great and wonderful Theodore Geissel aka Dr. Seuss.
Marc Silverstein says
Try reading The Lorax next…
Jason Kropsky says
Never trust the infallible.
the Mad Artist says
Thank you for posting this! That is truly INSPIRING!!!
Mike the Mad Artist