Dr Seuss would be 111 years old today and while I won’t celebrate by eating green eggs and ham, I will pay tribute to this remarkable man by reflecting on the impact he has made.
I could never take reading for granted.
My father, who would be 91 if he were alive, had never learned to read. He had been too distracted during the 5km walk to school to actually attend. Fishing with his brothers was more fun. However, as an adult, he had to adapt of course. I watched my mother read the newspaper to him each evening after dinner, and while I found that scene very endearing, it also made me realize how important it is to be able to read for yourself.
We did not have Dr Seuss books in my home while I was growing up, but we did have them in our school and church library. It was a lot of fun to read those silly books, but I hadn’t realized how much fun until I introduced them to my own children.
My son was only three years old when he learned to read Dr Seuss books. I watched him work very hard as he poured over the pages, searching for visual cues that would help him decipher the words, and basically teaching himself to read. He was small for his age; a fact that did bother him far more than I liked. That summer I took him to the weekly library reading program where he enjoyed reading along with the other children, all of whom were bigger or older than he was. I realized then how empowering reading can be. It was such a confidence booster! The experience also taught him another valuable life lesson: learning is hard work! You need to persist, struggle, and never give up.
I have been reading a lot about Growth Mindsets and the work of Carol Dweck at Stanford University. I think Dr Seuss had a Growth Mindset and nurtured it for many of us. So thank you Dr Seuss for the powerful life lessons you taught us. You were way ahead of your time!
“You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose to”.
Happy Birthday Dr Seuss!