Friday, December 5, 2008

The Greatest Doctor Who Ever Lived - Part 2

I suppose that I could jump into this one with comments and opinions about the silly state of our country's federal government and the bizarre fear that Canadians were mere days from being taken over by Separtists, Socialists, Anarchists and the morons that accompany them.
Or, I could talk about how my photo pal Stephen Harper convinced the Governor General to giving him and his minority Conservatives (including my pal Keith Ashfield) a reprieve until January 2009 from being overrun by the twerps mentioned above.

No siree, I'm not going to do that. There will be plenty of time in January to talk about that if I choose to do so.

I'm going to start this one off my announcing to the world that one of my sons got his very first hockey hat trick on Sunday morning!!
In all the years I played hockey I only scored two goals. That's all.
Last year they only had one goal each but so far he has scored 5 goals in 4 games.
Darn right we're proud!
That's real NEWS! Isn't it? These are the most important things in the world.
Seeing our children doing well and having fun at the same time.

Cheryl and I do not push and nag our boys to excel and be the best at everything they do. We would like them to do their best, but they don't have to BE the best.
They are playing to have fun!

If they happen to develop or discover that they have an extraordinary skill in the process that's wonderful, we'll nurture it in a loving way.
Don't get me wrong. We will continually tell them that they have the ability to be great if they put their minds and soul into it. That's inside them as it is with us all.
But that's up to them.
Far too often we have seen parents pushing or pulling children to win and that nothing else will do.
It's not up to me to say that they are wrong. In fact, I'll bet that their kids do win quite often.
I just hope that they enjoy the path getting there.

The only thing we will insist on is that they are involved in some type of sport or activity in the summer and the winter.

Their interest in music has been a fabulous bonus to us.
Cheryl and I are overjoyed that the lads enjoy playing the drums and piano.
They are pretty good too! The lessons are not wasted by any means.

I suppose this big preamble is a perfect lead-in to my next Dr. Seuss book item.
My favourite book ever written by the good doctor also happened to be his last. I wonder if he knew that he wasn't well and set out to write the most brilliant and educational story of his life?
The first time that I saw this was when the boys were very little and we lived in Mississauga, Ontario. That was at least six years ago and they are ten now.
The public library in Meadowvale Town Centre was perfect for kids. The children's area had big piles of books on the floor with mats to crawl around and get comfy while reading everything in sight.
I thought that I knew all of Dr. Seuss' stuff but I had never seen this one before.
I sat down and started to read it. As I did so I knew that I was holding one of my favourite books ever.

I bought a copy of my own so that I could read it to the boys (or myself) whenever I wanted.
I have done just that. It has been a little while but I guarantee I will be digging it out tonight to read to them again.
I'll talk about it more after you have a chance to read it yourself but there are certain parts that I choke up every time I read.
Hopefully you'll see what I mean.

Oh, the Places You'll Go! was first published in January 1990 and talks about life and its challenges in the way that only Dr. Seuss could do.
It is written in the style of his classics such as Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat, but this one has specific characters including a narrator and the person reading it.
He calls the young boy “you” and this boy initiates the story's actions. This character helps us to identify with the book.

I learned on the internet that in the United States and Canada, Oh, the Places You'll Go! is a popular gift for students graduating from high school and college, with its biggest sales every spring.
This book sells up to 300 thousand copies every year! That's incredible!

I'll stop rambling so that you can read this for yourself. See if you agree with me.

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you'll head straight out of town.

It's opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.


You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don' t
Because, sometimes, you won't.

I'm sorry to say so
but, sadly, it's true
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You'll be left in a Lurch.

You'll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you'll be in a Slump.

And when you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both you elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right...
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...

...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a sting of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you're that kind of a guy!

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.

All Alone!
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.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike
and I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
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 guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!

---Dr. Seuss

See what I mean? Was I wrong? I don't think so.
The story is so motivational while being cautious at the same time.
The title tells you that you're setting out on a big wonderful journey. The content emphasizes this too but warns you of the speed bumps that you will encounter.
I can't think of any other person or possible way to talk to kids about the trials they will face in life.
Youngsters may not see past the Seussisms and wonderful pictures in order to see the deeper wisdom of this story. But I'll bet that as they get older and start to experience life this story will make more sense to them.

As I read this to my sons they don't understand why Daddy gets tears in his eyes and chokes up when he gets to the " All Alone! Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you'll be quite a lot." part.
One day I hope they have children of their own. Then they will understand this feeling.
The feeling that I can't bear the thought of them being alone in the world at any point and there will be nothing I can do to stop it.
As a parent I wish beyond measure that I could always be there for our babies and shield them from the ugly parts of life and the "dragons" that are hiding out there.

Reluctantly, I see it realistically and know that this is not possible. I can't always be there.
One day I won't be there at all and that thought pains me.

You and I need to have faith that when our children reach those "waiting places" and arrive at their "mountains" that they have equipped themselves with the right equipment to make that climb much easier and have surrounded themselves with the right people to make the journeys a little smoother.
As parents it is up to us to educate our kids so when they "look up and down streets" they will have the knowledge to see why a street may be a "not-so-good" street and say "I don't choose to go there."
With the help of the great Dr. Seuss I should be able to do my part.
Could there possibly be a more fun way to do so?

Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss (1904-1991)


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