“O, the places you’ll go!”

As a parent or teacher, it can often be hard having confidence in what you are doing, especially in times when everything you see and hear is telling/showing you that you are wrong.  It takes conviction, discipline, compromise, and most of all it takes love.  It takes love to tell your child “no” in a loving manner.  It takes love to be the “bad parent/teacher” by not giving into every demand.  It takes love to turn around and smile at your child when we say these things instead of saying it as if the two of you are equals in life and are arguing on equal ground.
The word of the month is confidence.  As I was looking through the student journals, I always take interest at reading little things the students write down.  I ran across someone whose knowledge book was “O, the places you’ll go” by Dr. Seuss.  I remembered reading this book.  In fact I remember reading a lot of books when I was younger.  Now I never read them alone because I strongly disliked reading, or anything else really that required me to focus that long on something.  But I read.  I read because my mom read to me.  She would make me sound out words, never scolding me for incorrectly saying the wrong word or crying when I get tired of reading.
Let me tell you who my mom is, but first a little about me.  To say I was difficult with my mom would be an understatement.  To outsiders, I was a perfect child.  I knew how to smile, what to say when asked a question, and how to behave when out in public, but within the confines of my own house I could be pretty rotten to my mom.  Also being adopted at the age of three, I acquired several learning acquisition issues as far as speech, language and basic reading comprehension, coupled with the fact that I was a fairly impatient to begin with.  My mom is by no means perfect either.  She/we call herself Ditsy Debby because some things she will just never grasp.  She is electronic inefficient (a nice way to say that her and electronics do not coexist cooperatively), poor at time management and forgetful as they can be.  But she is the single most loving person I know.  I guess everyone may say that about their mother, but I’m a realist at heart and would be the first to say if this were not true, but it is.  To this day I suffer from night terrors, but when I was young I would wake up screaming and crying at night.  I never remembered what or why I did that (as a Psychologist I guess I have my own theories), but what I do remember is my mom holding me in our old rocking chair and simply rocking me back to sleep almost every other night.  This is by far the earliest memory I have and am proud to say it is a happy one.
There are other cases.  I remember getting so upset at her she would have to pin me to the ground and just sit on my stomach.  This is of course when she I was small enough for this to work.  I would be laying on my back kicking and screaming and yelling every possible word that parents hate hearing such as “I hate you”, “you’re wrong!” and from time to time I would even go as far as saying “you’re not my real mom!”  In hindsight, the last one is one I am most regretful for ever saying and can only imagine how much that would hurt her to hear.  But she handled it with the utmost grace.  She would just sit on top of me and calmly tell me that she was not leaving until I relaxed.  She wouldn’t hit me, she wouldn’t argue with me or yell at me.  In the face of a wild fire, my mom was the quiet breeze, knowing full well that fighting fire with fire never works.  She simply held on and went for the ride but as time went on, her breeze made a rather large dent on me.
There are plenty of other moments.  One other one was reading.  When it came to reading my mom was a champ.  I don’t know if you remember the books you read when you were young but I sure do.  There was OUR favorite, Wacky Wednesday, where everyday something weird would happen to the city in the book.   There was one about Gary the Goat where Gary was the recluse Goat who refused to eat the prototypical Goat food of trash and instead was suited for finer meals.  In the end he compromised with his family and they ate a mix meal of shoelaces and filet each night.  There was Pebble the Penguin, the Berenstein Bears, the Choose Your Own Adventure Books (a favorite of my later years), Dr. Seuss, Clifford, etc.  Now I was not a fan of reading, and my mom is not a creative one, but on those nights she was the best.  She did her best to surround me with the things that would help shape me to be who I am.  Growing up and to this day, I am a bit like Gary the Goat.  I was always an outsider looking in at everybody else thinking they were wrong for doing what they were doing when they were also looking at me thinking the same thing.  From that I learned how to compromise but more importantly how to never assume you know what is good for others.  Even though my mom never had the creativity ingenuity to write me her own book, she surrounded me with so many books written in worlds that only I could create in my own mind.  She gave me reading that had choices so that I could control my own actions but also be responsible for the wrong ones.
Long story short…..if we look at each day as a success or failure to our goals, we will ultimately be let down.  To me confidence is knowing that if you stay the course, you will succeed.  Maybe not in the time you thought and maybe not even in the exact way, but you will succeed.  We always talk about giving 100%.    I, as all children do, require 100% or what we have in order to help them succeed.  I can say with 100% certainty that if my mother would of given any less then 100%, I would not be who I am today.
(exert from “O the places you’ll go”)
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.
You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
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.
You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted.  But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out?  Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?
And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.
You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…
…for people just waiting.
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
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
That’s not for you!

One Reply to ““O, the places you’ll go!””

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.