Those of us who find solace in books, and even anyone who’s ever read a book, are most likely more than familiar with the popular children’s author Dr. Seuss. Beginning in his college years, Dr. Seuss wrote countless articles and eventually children’s books that have been enjoyed across the nation, re-created as films and even led to National Read Across America Day in his honor.
One of the most amazing aspects of Seuss’s writing is that in the middle of all his ridiculous characters and constant fun, Dr. Seuss always managed to find playful ways to teach children wonderful lessons, ranging from standing up for your needs and desires to placing value on everyone’s life, no matter how different.
Of course, parents can teach these lessons as well, but playful Dr. Seuss excelled at planting these messages within stories and characters that children found impossible not to love. It’s one thing to sit your child down and tell them how to be a good person. It’s another to paint a picture so vivid and entertaining that children want to be just like the hero characters who exhibit spectacular morals and the ability to find the good in everything.
Even the Cat in the Hat, Seuss’s lovable black and white cat prone to destroying homes, never left a house without returning it to spotless condition. In this masterpiece, children see an awesome, fun friend with the ability to make a boring afternoon into an adventure. Parents see a novel way to show children the importance of cleaning up your own mess.
One of Seuss’s most famous and heart-warming stories is that of the Grinch who stole Christmas. As our society becomes more and more focused on consumerism, especially during important holidays, the relevance of Dr. Seuss’s Grinch becomes even more obvious. By creating a town of young parents and children at the mercy of a grouchy green creature, Dr. Seuss reminds each of us, every year that the holiday season isn’t about receiving more gifts than everyone else, or even about receiving gifts at all. It’s about loving one another and spending time together. How many of us could watch either version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and still feel worried about not getting perfect gifts for the holidays?
In fact, teachers, parents and authors all around the world can take a page from Seuss’s colorful books and use interesting stories and lovable characters to instill a sense of morals, love for all mankind, responsibility and more. How much more likely are any of us to remember the lesson in something we found exciting and eye-catching? Dr. Seuss’s final book, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go,” even appeals to older kids and young adults, instilling a sense that anything is possible, and each of us can make it happen.
Think back to your favorite Dr. Seuss book. What’s the ultimate lesson in the story? Are you a fan of Horton’s quest to ensure that even the smallest of Whos is respected by all, or on par with the boy who wished he had duck feet, only to discover that he was happiest as himself? Whatever wisdom you wish to instill, remember, a little bit of fun goes a long way!