If I had a top 10 list of my favorite books, there is one that easily rises to the top…Oh the Places You Will Go by none other than that genius of a poet, Dr. Suess! I love this book because of how masterfully it balances whimsy and weight. Dr. Suess just had a knack for telling a childlike story while delving into the depths of what makes us all human! It was positively magical.
When I stumbled upon this treasure, I was sitting in a classroom full of third graders. I and other parents had volunteered to read to my daughter’s class and I had dutifully come to offer my contribution to the day of literacy. But, as one of the parents read, I was only half listening because the children were restless. Then something caught my ear …
You have brains in your head
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
Any direction you choose
It was so catchy! Then, there were other phrases that seemed quite profound…
Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t
Because sometimes you won’t
It so perfectly captured my own reality that I wasn’t sure I had heard it right. Was this Dr. Suess? Was this actually a book for third graders? I had to get my own copy! And when I did, I came to the “waiting” page and almost cried:
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…
It’s exactly where I was–the waiting place–uncertain about the future and questioning the past. These simple lines said it all. Then, just like he says, the barometer shifted and things were moving again! Since then I’ve soared and I’ve crashed, but the place where I’ve lingered again and again is
… you’ll be best of the best.
… you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t,
It’s the perpetual cycle—the daily roller coaster:
- Every day the thorn of doubt pokes me in my side making me uncomfortable with success.
- Every day doubt stops me cold as my fingers hover over the keyboard. My thoughts are a blur and my mind as vacuous as the glowing screen.
- Every day I question my ability to fulfill a very specific dream that exists only in my imagination, and I can’t seem to step off the merry-go-round. I move in a direction that only circles me back to where I started and I’m dizzy from the ride.
But Dr. Suess is unphased.
I’m sorry to say so
But, sadly, it’s true
Can happen to you.
Yet, like all our favorite stories, Oh the Places you will Go has a happy ending. “You will succeed” he assures us. “98 ¾ percent guaranteed.” And every time I close the cover of my favorite book, I’m encouraged to keep going.
So should you.