Written by Dr. Steve Whitaker, Head of School
Today is the beloved author Dr. Seuss’ birthday which students celebrated around campus. Even though his works are considered classics, the timeless messages behind the stories are just as relevant today as the day they were written. I asked the library staff to share with us their favorite lessons from this prolific author. We hope this challenges you to reread his stories and reflect on the relevancy of his words for the 21st-century learner.
While many see the works of Dr. Seuss as solely the provenance of the very young, the discerning reader will recognize issues that we all face in life. Theodore Seuss Geisel used the struggles he faced personally as well as those of the culture around him. Whether it was discrimination, fascism, or just a bad attitude about Christmas, he was able to bring it to a level that even the smallest Who in Whoville or student in school could understand.
Dr. Seuss knew that we all matter. The entire plotline of Horton Hears a Who! centers on an elephant hearing and responding to the cries of the smallest of creatures. Those around him felt that as the person is so small, his needs didn’t matter. As Horton himself so aptly puts it, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Whether a minority group or single person, each is valuable in the eyes of God. In The Sneetches, one group took pride in the stars on their tummies. They looked down on and bullied everyone without a star. A con-man comes to town and through his trickery, the Sneetches learn that trivial differences really don’t matter and we are each valuable just for being ourselves. If we are Christ-followers, we should treat people even better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3).
His books remind us that we should try and do new things even when they are uncomfortable. Our first thoughts when reading Green Eggs and Ham do not usually include “Do hard things.” However, if we dig a little deeper, we realize the narrative of this seemingly silly story is one of embracing that which appears unusual and being surprised and delighted by its reality.
We must persevere in the midst of all circumstances. “On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.” This quote from Oh, The Places You’ll Go! shows how this book walks the fine line of truth and encouragement, reminding children and grown-ups alike that life may not be perfect, but it is still beautiful. When we make the choice to persevere through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can see miracles happen.
Look at books like the ones written by Dr. Seuss through the lens of a biblical worldview. Life hasn’t changed as much as it seems. We’re all still searching for our significance, which can only be found through Christ, the One who sees and knows us more perfectly than Horton knew the Whos. We still struggle to do what seems difficult, but God blesses us when we do it anyway. We still need people to remind us that God calls us to be confident and to press on, and He has given us everything we need for both. We are thankful that the Lord uses even children’s literature to speak truth into our lives.