Oh, The Places You Will Go
A Little Reminder That Nothing is Impossible
article by Cindy G. Foust
Spring has finally sprung, but not before “Snow Gate” of 2015 blew through…in March for crying out loud. It will suffice to say I am “over” the winter weather and looking forward to spring and all that it brings with it…warm weather, baseball games, grilling out and working in the yard. This time of year also reminds us that school is just a few months from being out…again…and another school year is about to be in the books. Yes, graduation is looming for many of our Bayou Nation parents, and in two short years, I will be joining the legions of friends who must accept the fact that their “babies” are closing one chapter of their life and moving on to the next. Kind of makes me sick to my stomach to think about it. After all, I can’t get my 17-year old son to pick his towel up off the floor, how in the world will he co-habitat with a perfect stranger? These are questions I ask myself a lot lately, because time is definitely marching on and taking with it my “baby boy.” Ever since my son was a little boy, he has had a vision of playing sports in college. Perhaps he will, perhaps he won’t, but as his parents, Scott and I have tried to encourage him that he could do anything that he set his mind to. Sound familiar? Of course it does…because that’s what parents do (I’m just glad I never told my parents I wanted to be a neurosurgeon, because they would have had a terrible time trying to encourage their non-math and science daughter that she could be a doctor.) Because I am a lover of the written word, particularly children’s literature, I found a book early in my son’s life, that many of you are probably familiar with, Oh, the Places You Will Go, by none other than my beloved Dr. Seuss. You see, my son has battled different self esteem issues through the years, from red hair, to freckles to buck teeth, to slightly oversized ears (which by the way, his head finally grew into, just as I told him they would.) Sadly, sometimes, low self esteem can creep into all areas of a child’s life and make it difficult for them to believe that “they can do anything they set their mind to.” Such was the case at my house, and as I like to do on many occasions, I went to the “books” to help my son, and here’s what I learned from this esteemed children’s classic and the lessons it has helped me try to impart to my children:
Your children all have a “brain in their head and feet in their shoes and they can steer themselves any direction they choose.” What an exciting way to open a children’s book, with the idea that each of us “know what we know and we are the person who will decide where to go.” There will be many streets to consider going down, but while he was at it, Dr. Seuss was quick to tell his young readers, they are too smart to “go down a not-so-good street.”
“Oh, the places you will go.”
And then they will be on to “see great sights, soon taking the lead…being the best and topping the rest.” His passion for encouraging truly begins to show through at this point in the book, because guess what he does next? The unthinkable…he warns of “bang-ups and hang-ups” because guess what, they will face them. We all do…and as much as we want to protect our children, they will face adversity…hard times…losing…hearing the word “no,” and being prepared for those times and working through them is simply part of growing up (oh, and part of being a grown-up).
And then, in his infinite wisdom, Dr. Seuss plainly addresses these “bumps” and “these slumps” and tells the reader to get up and go! Head back out there in this maze of life, towards unmarked streets and dark places, trying to decided whether to turn “left or right” (anybody out there thinking they need to read this book themselves?) Confusion will set in as you find yourself “waiting” on others…and buses…and the mail…and the phone….and your hair to grow…just simply waiting.
But there are still plenty of places for you to go! There’s fun to be had and games to be won…and “magical things that will make you the winning-est (Dr. Seuss vocabulary at its best) winner of them all.” He even warns his young readers about loneliness and facing their roads sometimes alone. In fact, this loneliness might scare them right out of their pants, and fear might keep them in one place, but Dr. Seuss simply encourages them onward, even when their “arms are sore and when their sneakers leak.” For surely we all get “mixed up” with many “strange birds” (oh, I could name call right now, the strange birds I’ve been mixed up with), but life is just “a great balancing act” (ain’t it the truth?). And then he does it. Dr. Seuss writes the words that brings a smile to my children’s lips, my lips and the world’s lips when he says that despite the bumps and the wrong choices and the waiting and the fright and the mix-ups, “you WILL succeed.” And not only will you succeed “Kid, you will move mountains!”
And just like that, through the yarn of a tale, you have a resource to share with your children that reminds them they are important, their vision is important and their goals are attainable. It’s a classic for anyone starting school, graduating or simply in a “slump.” You don’t have to be ten years old to take this sage advice and unless someone sees it in your briefcase, no one will know you are reading a children’s book to get that encouragement, that perspective or certainly a reminder that whatever stage in your life you are at, nothing is impossible. So what are you waiting for?
“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So, get on your way!”