Oh, the Places You Will Go: In Memory of Dr. Seuss

This past Friday, March 2, 2018, would have been Theodore Seuss Geisel’s (Dr. Seuss) 114th birthday. The author of many beloved children’s books, including How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and Oh, the Places You’ll Go, there is no children’s writer who has had more influence than Dr. Seuss. Even today, elementary schools across America participate in Read Across America, which is a holiday that takes place on Dr. Seuss’ birthday. On this day, many students will dress as their favorite character from one of his books and spend the day commemorating their favorite books by the beloved author.

What many do not know is that Dr. Seuss had to persevere tremendously before getting his first book published. Twenty-seven different publishers rejected him before he got his first book published. With that being said, Dr. Seuss has not only entertained children with his stories but he has also inspired children to never give up on their dreams. With his testimony of rejection and overcoming, his life speaks of the heights that any man is capable of soaring to if he does not give up.

This can be seen in his last published book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go. Published a year before his death, the book centers on a young one who is finally out on his own, expectant of all the adventures he is about to embark upon. However, in the midst of it all, Seuss does not sugarcoat the challenges and obstacles that one must overcome in order to attain true success.

This book could possibly be seen as Seuss reflecting upon his own life, overcoming multiple rejections to achieve his own dreams. Though rejection was a substantial part of his journey, he did not succumb to it. In Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Seuss shows that one should follow his or her dreams and that they are not out of reach, though it will take hard work and even some suffering to accomplish them.

Seuss brilliantly makes this statement on the hardships that life can bring when pursuing your calling in his final book:

I’m sorry to say so

but, sadly, it’s true

that Bang-ups

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.

Being rejected twenty-seven times, there were many days when Seuss had to go back to the drawing board and ‘un-slump’ himself. He had to believe in himself, even when no one else would. Thankfully, this is not the end of his story and is not the end of Oh, the Places You’ll Go.

The book continues on with the challenges and adventures this young one has encountered and at the end Seuss writes:

And will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

Seuss knew that there was a light at the end of his dark tunnel of rejections. He was hopeful that someone would take a chance on him and publish his work. It is very obvious where this mindset brought him. Imagine if Seuss had given up. If he had decided to sell insurance, own a restaurant, or start a business instead. These are all noble careers, but had Seuss given up on his dreams, he probably would not have had the same influence that he did.

The legacy that Seuss has had on children’s literature is undeniable, and he will continue to inspire many young ones generations down the road. But there is a great lesson that can be learned from his life. As Winston Churchill says, “Never, never, never give up!” Seuss never gave up on himself, though others had. Perseverance is sometimes the only thing one can hold on to. Seuss did not give up on his dreams and it paid off in remarkable ways. He had no idea of the places he would go. For anyone in the midst of hardship and with the temptations of throwing in the towel, please do not give up because there is no telling of the places you will go.

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