Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Maybe You Should Fly A Jet!

This has always been my all-time least favorite Dr. Seuss book.

I do find it cool that my "real-life, responsible, grown-up" job is listed in the title: Maybe you should fly a jet! Maybe you should be a vet! (By Theo LeSieg, illustrated by Michael J. Smollin, in the Dr. Seuss Beginner Books series)

But I never liked the sentiments expressed within. Especially from Dr. Seuss.

"You've got to do something. What DO you want to do?"

Like kids need that kind of pressure.

"You've got to BE someone sooner or later."

It just isn't the creative, child-friendly, nurturing tone I associate with Dr. Seuss.

But my kids love it. Ryan even brought it in to her English class when they were learning careers at school.

And the last page is growing on me.

"Maybe you should be a voice. Someday you must make a choice. Maybe you should be a FOICE! ????? When you find out what a FOICE is, you can tell us what your choice is."

It leaves some room for self-discovery.

I'm still not sure what a foice is, but I am studying both the Tao and the Bhagavad Gita to find out. I'd let you know when I find out, but I have read enough to know that it is something everyone has to find out for themselves.

That Dr. Seuss is no dummy.

I've tried on lots of roles in Dr. Suess's book. And will continue to try more.

And it occurs to me. Maybe I SHOULD be a voice! I've been speaking to more and more people lately about the lack of special education programs in the school system here. If it's not that, there will always be other causes I want to rush out and defend. I am a voice.

I speak for those who cannot speak up for themselves, either because of convention or shyness. I speak for those who would LIKE to but are afraid or discouraged.

I may be a pain in the ass, but I have more people thank me for it than condemn me.

My goal now is to speak FOR a cause, to speak FOR a group (or better yet, WITH it), to speak FOR change and FOR something better. To speak FOR all of us, and all of our children.

I have a letter to write to the school board here, and to the school authorities in Baden-Wurttemburg. The more I think about what I am going to say, the more I discuss it with other parents, the more I realize that it has to be written. I can't just jump ship and run.

But I am going to write FOR our school system, FOR change within it, FOR special education programs, FOR integration of special education into the main schools. It's a step that Germany needs to take. And will. But someone - lots of someones - have to be willing to take that first step and speak out.

I am going to be a voice.

I've worked my way to the end of the book and it's high time I made a choice!


  1. I believe that book was written decades after Seuss's death, wasn't it? We have several on our shelf - "How to read a map", etc. - that look like Seuss but are only part of his publishing empire's post partem impression.
    In any case, I don't consider him nurturing in a motherly way; he was quite political (Cat in the Hat Comes Back = watch the pinko commies; Marvin K. Mooney, Please Go Home = Richard M. Nixon, please resign; The Lorax = Think Green). So I guess I think of him as fatherly and fathers are the ones who (are supposed to) say, "What do you want to be?" to the young kids and "Get off your ass and get a job" to the teenagers. He even had words for the graduates ("Oh the places you will go") and the nursing home inductees (I gave my grandmother "You're only old once" when she entered a home).
    Now, I do love what you are doing and going to do for children in this school system. They need all the help they can get!

  2. I stand corrected! I DO like "Oh the places you will go." Wonder why this one stressed me out so much? Self-imposed pressure.

    And yes - I am going to work FOR our children. Fighting the system in anger isn't going to help ANYONE. I may still vent HERE but - in the real world - I am going to be proactive instead of combative.

    Oh. I like that. Maybe I can use it somewhere.

    Nice to see we're reading the same authors! Thanks again for keeping me honest.