Does that line bring back a distant memory? Maybe from a children’s book you read to your youngster or your grandkid not too long ago. Good Memory! This book (Oh, the places you’ll go) is one of 46 children’s books from good ol’ Dr. Seuss. Tomorrow is his birthday and today, Friday, many of us old farts are trapping off to various classrooms to read his words aloud and watch dozens of smiles behind desks. You should try it. It’s great fun.
Before he was Dr. Seuss, he was Theodore Seuss Geisel. When he was editor-in-chief of his college newspaper, The Dartmouth “Jack O’Lantern” Theo Geisel and his buddies were busted in his dorm room drinking gin. The school forced him to resign all extracurricular activities, but he didn’t want to stop writing and editing. He wrote behind the scenes and used his middle name, Seuss. For years he insisted that people pronounce it correctly, not the Anglicized version that he heard people call him. He insisted his name rhymed with “voice.”
When the public started buying millions of his books, and were still calling the author by the “wrong” pronunciation, he changed his mind and then reminded people that his name rhymed with “Mother Goose.”
His books are special indeed, but any decent children’s book is important if it’s read to or by children. As Dr. Seuss is quoted, “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” That quote always makes me feel good because I know I’m a little wacky, a lot wild and way old.
I also know that kids are starting school with less reading ability than any time in the last 50 years. I’ve been part of the volunteer reading tutors for second graders for five years. Every year it seems my kids have less ability. Why are we allowing this investment in our future to start off on the wrong foot? I understand that parents both have to work to make it. I understand they are tired when they come from work. But I don’t understand why they allow the TV to take over in those precious hours after dinner, and those more precious moments at bedtime. This is the perfect time for bedtime stories. As the kids get older, you can start pointing to the words so they follow your finger and see the letters forming magical words.
I hope we all insist our slow learners in Congress (that’s most of them) see fit to fund the children’s “pre-K program.” Our kindergarten kids are behind when they get there because parents are NOT doing the job at home. It can be the best investment we make in this country’s future.
In closing I’ll leave you with a few more of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes.
“In my world, everyone’s a pony and they all eat rainbows and poop butterflies.”
“Adult are just obsolete children, and to hell with them.”
“I am weird, you are weird. Everyone in this world is weird. One day, two people come together in mutual weirdness, and fall in love.”
“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you.”
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!