2016-01-13

If laughter is really the best medicine, then Dr. Seuss is the best in the business. The source of countless hours of laughter and an inspiration to so many young readers, the classic works of the children’s book author are massively popular and instantly recognizable. Exposure to books at a young age is critical in building future readers, and Seuss’s book’s served as a gateway for so many to the infinite worlds and stories that book’s hold within their pages.

Dr. Seuss made reading fun as well as a social experience, with many parents and teachers excitedly sharing their favorite stories with wide-eyed youngsters. The colorful scenes and zany characters in the pages of Seuss’s books were second only to the author’s signature writing style. Full of figurative language and rhyming patterns, the easy-to-follow and smile inducing tales of foreign lands and ludicrous characters each had a strong message at their core.

The real man under the red and white top hat, Ted Geisel, would have been 111 this March. In the spirit of his legacy as well as National Reading Day on January 22, here are a few inspirational twitter-sized tidbits of inspiration from the good doctor. Be sure to share these (and your favorite Seuss story) with readers of all ages. 

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not” – The Lorax

Dr. Seuss’s story of conservation and standing up for what is right has a simple and direct message for readers. You are important. You are powerful. You can insight change. Sometimes, as we go through our lives it may seem like an uphill battle, but it is the passion that you bring that will create a spark for others. Conviction, along with action, are some of the most powerful tools we have.

“Step with great care and great tact, and remember that life’s a great balancing act.” – Oh the Places You’ll Go

Anyone who has ever been to a graduation party has probably heard this one before. As we move forward in our lives and responsibilities pile on and on top of each other, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Here, Seuss urges readers to approach these changes with purpose. Can it be stressful? Of course, but it is how we persevere and meet challenges that allow us to grow and develop into stronger individuals.

“Today is gone. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” – One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

Great days always seem so short and the rough ones drag on. While we may never want to see the good times end, it is important to keep in mind that change is not only inevitable, but it is something to look forward too. It’s important to find time to reflect on what you have accomplished and the relationships you have built, but avoid complacency in your personal and professional life. Tomorrow offers a fresh start, new people to meet, and experiences to have.

“And when things start to happen, don't worry, don't stew. Just go right along, you'll start happening too!” – Oh the Places You’ll Go

Pardon the double-dip, but this fan-favorite book is just bursting with inspiration. Too often we get stuck in life, watching things beyond our control fly by us. It can become overwhelming seeing friends and co-workers so confident and so put-together having personal and professional successes. In these situations, Dr. Seuss would recommend taking a step back and taking a deep breath. You are in control of your own life. When you can stop comparing yourself to others you will find your own way. Where you end up is heavily effected by your attitude and mentality.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” - I Can Read with My Eyes Shut

Leave it to a writer to stress the importance of reading. This is Seuss’s love-letter to his craft. Writers can transport readers to far off worlds, and for many Seuss was their first pilot. He brought readers to Whoville and walked us through colorful roads lined with Truffula Trees. He introduced us to the kind-hearted Horton and that iconic and chaotic Cat in the Hat. Perhaps more than all this, he showed so many the power of books. It is up to us to continue in that tradition of literacy. Share with others the places and characters Seuss and others have brought to the world. We, ourselves, must also never lose that excitement of reading. You never know where that next page will take you. 

By Joe McGee, City Year Philadelphia AmeriCorps Member serving at E.W. Rhodes Elementary Joe and his team's work  is made possible by Program Sponsor, Glenmede.

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