My children were treated to his uniquely developed ‘characters’ and easy to understand perspective on how to be kind, stay true to yourself and be loyal.
These stories were a favorite of mine because their familiar themes resonated with adult struggles as well. Seuss’ message resounded with my core values.
So, it was very interesting when I found the following poster on Facebook. It said, “5 Lessons in Life from Dr. Seuss,” with the ubiquitous picture of The Cat in the Hat alongside. It is now on my office wall and I read it each morning as I start my day.
5 Lessons in Life from Dr. Seuss
1. Today you are You, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is Youer than You.
2. Why fit in when you were born to stand out?
3. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
4. Be who you are and say what you feel, because
those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
5. Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered.
This evokes the ‘Cat in the Hats’ language I loved as I read it to my children. It is a unique style for teaching both young and old a very important life lesson. You should be who you are; everyone else is taken. You know what is right, you know what is wrong. Just listen to your heart. Be remembered by being memorable and that comes from being ‘YOUER than You.’
For me the iconic cat also signifies the wisest of old adages,
“Be the kind of person your pet thinks you are.”
If we all lived by these ‘5 Lessons’, offered by one of the most famous cats I know, then conflicts would be few and far between, especially when animals are involved.
We would remain true to who we are and not be bamboozled into thinking or doing something we do not believe in. We would be comfortable in our own skin and not try to change in order to be accepted or keep the peace. These changes are often short-lived and without foundation in the heart.
We should believe in a plan and then move our feet to accomplish it. Make a plan for yourself, you and your family and you and the greater community. It is easy to get derailed when our ideas or plans are dismissed or disrespected by others. However, as the cat says…’those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. ‘ It is you who must choose to allow someone to disrespect you and cause conflict.
Finally, my favorite, ‘behave as if this is the day you will be remembered!’
Think about how you act and speak each and every day. Saying things in a way that respects or discounts another’s opinion will leave that person with an opinion and memory of you. Is that truly how you want to be remembered? Think about it, ponder the fallout or benefit of acting in a certain way. Then choose what will maintain your integrity.
Finally, remember, your pet always holds you in the highest regard no matter what you do. Try to live up to that regard each and every day. They always forgive and forget. People, not so much. If you act with the integrity outlined by the ‘5 Life Lessons,’ you will not need to ask for forgiveness and you will repeatedly be remembered fondly.