What Dr Seuss has taught our kids

March 1, 2013

Although tomorrow is the birthday of Dr Seuss (he was born on March 2, 1904), there isn’t a day that I don’t think of a Seussism, or read my son one of his books, or try remind myself that my mountain is waiting, so I better get on my way.

Dr Seuss, or Theodor Seuss Geisel, wrote and illustrated 44 books for children, including classics like The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I came across a brilliant post at Mamiverse about the lessons Dr Seuss has taught us – young and old. Here they are:

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” is a famous quote by Dr. Seuss, and justly so. His books have always been in a league of their own. Despite many imitators, no one can capture his unique style of drawing and writing. It’s a great lesson for us to teach our kids (and it doesn’t hurt to keep in mind for ourselves, when we want to practice self-acceptance): don’t try to be anyone else. Just be yourself.

We want our kids to love reading. And reading to our children—and starting early—is a great way to make that happen. The books of Dr. Seuss, with their rhyming verse, easy-to-read words for beginners, and colorful illustrations, couldn’t be better for parents and burgeoning readers alike.

Although the main character of Green Eggs and Ham spends almost the entire book refusing to even try a taste of Sam-I-Am’s titular dish, he eventually gives in and takes a bite—and likes it! The book is a good choice for picky eaters (and a good preamble before introducing new foods) but also serves as a general reminder for conservative kids that it’s fun to try new things.

Read Related: 30 Dr. Seuss Quotes that Can Change Your Life


The kindness of Horton in the classic Horton Hatches the Egg is a lesson for all of us, male or female. Horton, an elephant, promises a bird that he will sit on her egg while she takes a vacation. His devotion to his task, despite the hardships that come his way, is rewarded by the love of the elephant-bird baby who eventually hatches out of the egg. It’s a beautiful story, made especially touching by the fact that Horton is a male elephant. It’s important to teach our boys that being loving, gentle, and nurturing are not gender-specific attributes.

Since its publication in 1957, How the Grinch Stole Christmas has stood as a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. The sinister and crafty Grinch steals all of the presents in Whoville, only to find that the Whos are undeterred and still joyfully singing and celebrating Christmas. There are other lessons to be had in this classic, including redemption and forgiveness. In short, it’s a book that’s inspiring during the holiday season (when we may need to celebrate Christmas on a budget) and all year ‘round, too.


The books of Dr. Seuss contain myriad messages, from the anti-war story of The Butter Battle Book to the prescient environment-in-danger theme of The Lorax. But the theme that remains consistent in all of his books is the joy we can take in being silly, whether it’s the rhymes of Hop on Pop or the chaos wrought by The Cat in the Hat. It’s a message that’s irresistible to children and just as important to parents, too, who may occasionally need to be reminded to lighten up.

The last book published before Dr. Seuss passed away in 1991, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is a love song to the adventure that is life—and an inspiration to children to be proactive about exploring their surroundings (and beyond). Read Oh, the Places You’ll Go! and then decide on an adventure that you and the kids can take together, whether it’s a day trip to the countryside, a visit to the zoo, or a meal at an off-the-beaten-path restaurant.

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