I wish I was better at explaining things…
Oh! The Places You’ll Go is the last book written by Dr. Seuss and it just happens to be one of my favorite books. Dr. Seuss was brilliant! I often read this at graduation when I was a principal – it makes a great gift.
Here is some background from Suite 101 dot com (followed by the text of the book):
In Oh! The Places You’ll Go, Dr. Seuss writes about the ups and downs of life.
Dr Seuss writes about the beginning…
Oh! The Places You’ll Go starts with a boy (sorry girls, it’s one of those times you just have to lump yourselves in with the guys). Anyway, this boy is starting off on his journey to Great Places. He’s “off and away!” He’s got brains and feet, and can go in any direction he chooses. He’s fresh and excited about his latest adventure, and he knows nothing will stop him.
Dr Seuss writes about decisions
The boy can choose whether or not to go down certain streets. Dr. Seuss stresses how smart and capable the boy is. And we all are, even us girls (but sometimes we ignore our gut feelings). Oh The Places You’ll Go is about making good decisions.
Dr Seuss writes about how good things happen!
In Oh The Places You’ll Go, we’re gutsy and brainy — and amazing things happen! Dr Seuss advises the boy to go along with the things – and he’ll start happening too! He’ll soar to high heights and see some great sights, and he’ll be at the top of his class. Dr Suess is optimistic.
Dr Seuss writes about how bad things happen too
The boy gets left in a lurch, while his peers soar on. He comes down with a bump, and gets into a slump. And, as Dr. Seuss says in Oh The Places You’ll Go, “Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.” Streets are dark and unmarked. Choices are confusing and possibly dangerous. Confusion can set in and so can impulsive decisions and even some hysteria too!
Dr Seuss writes about waiting
Dr Suess says that the waiting place isn’t fun for anyone in Oh The Places You’ll Go. Here, people wait for other people, the weekend, the phone to ring, money, possessions, anything, everything – even a second chance.
Dr Seuss writes about escaping to bright places!
The boy doesn’t wait in Oh The Places You’ll Go – waiting isn’t for him! He finds the “bright places where Boom Bands are playing” and he starts to ride high. He’s excited again, and ready to win big time on tv with everyone watching. He’s a star!
Dr Seuss writes about the lonely game
But then he gets all alone, whether he likes it or not, in Oh The Places You’ll Go. Dr Seuss knows that sometimes we all play lonely games no matter who we are. When we’re alone there’s a good chance we’ll get scared out of our pants.
Dr Seuss writes about resiliency
The boy moves forward through foul weather, prowling enemies, howling Hakken-Kraks, frightening creeks, and leaky sneakers. He hikes upward and faces his problems! He’ll “get mixed up with many strange birds” as he goes; Dr Seuss advises him to step with great care and great tact.
Dr Seuss writes about the ups and downs of life
But it’s 98¾% guaranteed that the boy will succeed! The odds are in his favor – he will move mountains. In Oh the Places You’ll Go Dr. Seuss advises him to get on his way, whether his name is “Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea” (some of those could be girls’ names!).
Oh! The Places You’ll Go!
by Dr. Seuss
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
You’ll look up and down streets. Look’em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good street.
And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town. It’s opener there in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.
Oh! 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 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 that Bang-ups 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 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.
No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!
Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.
Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.
I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.
Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.
And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.
But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.
You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)
Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!