2 Mar
Posted in: parenting, reading
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Parenting with Dr. Seuss

I don’t have any childhood memories revolving around Dr. Seuss books. I don’t recall sitting on any laps being read any of his rhyming verse. Dr. Seuss entered my life in high school when I was helping in an elementary school kindergarten class. That class did two things for me: it showed the importance of being read to and learning to read and gave me a great love for children. The roots were planted for my future self who would stay at home with her kids and continuously try to add more children to her brood, much to her husband’s chagrin.

girl reading a Dr. Seuss book

My senior year in high school I received a junk mail, unsolicited offer to join a children’s book-of-the-month club. I picked my introductory books and started my Dr. Seuss collection. I received monthly children’s books for the next two years, even delivered to my dorm room as a freshman in college. That was the beginning of my obsession with children’s books.

Dr. Seuss is writing magic to me. His rhymes and non-nonsensical words with life lessons intermixed and charming illustrations make me happy. His books became the foundation for my parenting style. My kids are no longer surprised to hear me recite Dr. Seuss.

shelf of Dr. Seuss books

  1. Horton Hears a Who! gave me the one sentence that has helped me through years of issues with my children….”A person’s a person, no matter how small.” It’s my parenting mantra. I’ve said this sentence in my head as a two-year-old threw himself on the floor, as a 9-year-old cried over testing and a 12-year-old refused to get out of bed. Those children are upset by some of the same things I struggle to handle. I, mostly, am better equipped to handle issues without tantrums, pencil throwing and burying my head under pillows.
  2. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is chock full of countless advice. There’s a good reason it’s given to high school graduates across the nation each year. My favorite two passages: “And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done” and “I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ’cause you’ll play against you.” This book has come in handy parenting a tween, although I do try to paraphrase a bit to avoid the dreaded eye roll.
  3. By far the most spoken sentence in my mothering arsenal is: “Problem solve it.” I’m not one to jump in and do things for my kids. I know how to do things they don’t. I’m not teaching them anything by taking away learning opportunities. This parenting strategy comes from “Oh, the Thinks you Can Think!” My hands-off approach comes from Dr. Seuss: “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the THINKS you can think up if only you try!”
  4. I want my kids to be doers. I want them to see problems and try to fix them not shy away because things seem hopeless. The Lorax is my teaching manual for this. “UNLESS someone like you cares whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” You never know if you’re the person that’s meant to make the difference.
  5. There are countless smaller references we use in the house regularly. The Tooth Book gave us Katy Klopps as a reminder to not use your teeth on things other than food, like bottle caps. When finicky eating toddlers ruled our table we uttered verse from Green Eggs and Ham: “You don’t like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And you may. Try them and you may, I say.” I still pull this one out on the kids.

Happy birthday Dr. Seuss and thank you for making parenting a little easier for this mama.

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