Saturday, March 17, 2012

Subtle Genius

I just took my children to see The Lorax.

As happened when they first saw Horton Hears a Who a few years ago, we spent the entire car ride home talking about the movie, specifically talking about what the movie really meant.

Dr. Seuss was a literary genius on a mission.

Though childless himself, he somehow knew that kids would turn and run from stories about moral and ethics and deep philosophical ideas in a heartbeat....so he found a way to tell them which made them all the more palatable.

He used simple words, rhyming sentences, whimsical characters and imagined worlds.  In the lands of fantasy he so carefully constructed were deep lessons about humanity.

Clean up your own messes.
Everyone is worth something.
Be happy with who you are.
You must try in order to succeed.
Take care of the world around you.
We all need to love and be loved.

It seems that every story he ever wrote under this pseudonym had a far deeper meaning than the surface might show.   I want to believe that by now we've acquired his complete works, but I'm sure there are a few books missing from our library.

His words have been the first that generations of children have read, and at least in my house, they've been the  driving force for many teachable moments.

He was a true master.

I was fortunate enough to have met his widow, Audrey.  In the days of glamour and sparkle in my life in California, we attended a lot of charity dinners.  It seemed as though she was at them all, a willing and generous donor to any cause worthwhile.  Gracious and kind, she never wanted to be in the spotlight at all.

The gifts of Theodor Geisel were vast, and will be shared for generations still.

Thank you, Dr. Seuss.

Unless someone like you cares an awful lot,
nothing's going to get better.  It's not.

2 comments:

  1. Love this! Dr. Seuss is one of my favorites- how could he not be?! I actually read somewhere a few months ago that while he loved observing children, being around/interacting with them made him nervous. Definitely can't tell that from reading his works.

    Do you think my kids would like The Lorax? They've never been to a movie theater before, and I was thinking this would be a good first movie experience.

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  2. It could be a good first movie....though there are parts of it that are fairly dark. This particular story isn't really a "happy" one though it has a happy ending. My 3 year old crawled up in my lap a few times, but the older ones loved it.

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