Lessons from Green Eggs & Ham

The more you read, the more you'll know.  The more you learn, the more places you'll go.

I am an English teacher and by nature, I read.  I read literature by the greats...Hemingway, Salinger, and Tolstoy, and teach my students to delve in and uncover the layers of their words like a piece of chocolate cake.  I love to read and often long for more hours in a day that I could waste away with a good book.  

Teaching Cruz to love sitting and listening to a book is at the top of my priority tree.  I want him to anticipate the page-turn, to grow excited at the adventures within, and to someday appreciate the crisp feel and wonderful smell of a brand new book.  Books are magical in that way.  They have the ability to take one's mind to faraway places that may or may not exist, to challenge old thinking and shed light on new, to broaden our perspectives and steal our hearts.  I want Cruz to experience the power of books over and over again.  

Everyday, we make it a habit to read to Cruz.  Usually in the mornings, after his breakfast, we'll sit with Cruz on our lap and read two or three of his books.  He listens, gasps and squeals when a page is turned, and stares ever-so-intently as the big pages are turned.  The minute a book is opened, Cruz is all smiles and all eyes on the target.  And Cruz absolutely loves Dr. Seuss.  Especially Green Eggs and Ham.  

I had forgotten how much I loved the clever rhymes of Dr. Seuss.  His silly illustrations, witty alliterations, and wacky characters make him fun to read again and again.  And hidden beneath his off-the-wall stories of Yertains that live in curtains, his stories are full of life lessons I hope to one day instill in Cruz.

Green Eggs & Ham.  It's simple.  You don't know if you are going to like something until you try it yourself.  Trust oneself.  Have an open mind and don't be afraid to try new things.  Whether it's green eggs and ham, a new activity in school, or something that's deemed 'uncool.'  But make sure you think good and hard before deciding whether something's right.  Don't cave too soon and do something because a crazy loon named Sam is telling you to.  Trust your instincts and follow your heart.  After all, 'those who mind, don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.'    

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.  Not everyone or everything is the same.  It's okay to be different.  Embrace your uniqueness, whether it's eleven fingers, a wump with only one bump, or two feet, four, six, or more!

"Not one of them is like the other.  I don't know why, go ask your mother." 

Horton Hears a Who.  We have so much to learn from Horton.  Help those in need, no matter how small, how insignificant they may seem.  Every one counts in this world of ours, even if at times, something seems impossible.  And the days when it seems that our voice has gone mute, that no one is listening, there may be a Horton just waiting to help.  

In all those years of studying Thoreau, searching for meaning in Faulkner, and playing with the words of Shakespeare, I had aimlessly overlooked the power of Seuss.  He's been my 'chocolate cake' since being home on maternity leave, and I'm sure I'll continue to carry his words with me as I head back to work in the weeks to come.       

I think Cruz already has good taste in books!