abcabcabc Life Lessons from Dr.Seuss — Mommy Manders

Life Lessons from Dr.Seuss

MJ reading with Beffa

In our family, we LOVE Dr. Seuss! We grew up reading his books, and we have been reading the wonderful rhymes, catchy metered phrases and and rich, creative imagery to our children since we brought them home as newborns. We started with “Hop on Pop”, “One Fish, Two Fish” and “Dr. Seuss’ ABC”. We have worked our way up to longer and more complex stories like Horton Hears a Who and The Lorax. But, they have always provided us with connection, with laughs, with a sense of rhythm and rhyme that often emerges in my children’s speech and song. They have given us fun and meaningful phrases to incorporate into our everyday routines when the moment is right. We can summon these familiar rhymes from our collective neural pathways, phrases like:

  • Today is gone, Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. Every day, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.” (at bedtime)
  • “Snack, snack, eat a snack. Eat a snack with Brown and Black.” (at snack-time, of course)
  • “Stop! You must not hop on Pop!” (when the kids are rough-housing with Daddy)
  • “Brush, brush, comb, comb…all girls who like to brush and comb should have a pet like this at home.” (when we are combing hair)
  • “I do not like this one so well. All he does is yell, yell, yell!”
  • (and conversely) “This one is quiet as a mouse. I like to have him in the house.”
  • “My hat is old. My teeth are gold. And now my story is all told.” (at the end of a story)
  • “I do not like this bed at all. A lot of things have come to call. A cow, a dog, a cat, a mouse. Oh! what a bed! Oh! what a house!” (when the children are piling on us in bed with all their blankets and animals)
  • “No, Pat, No, Don’t sit on that!” (when they are getting into trouble)
  • “Fish in a tree? How can that be?” (when we don’t understand something)
  • “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way.” (drop-off at school)
  • Oh dear! What a shame! What a shame! What a shame!” (spill, sad choice, disappointment, etc.)
  • “Well…what would YOU do if your mother asked you?” (disobedience)
  • And we did not like it. Not one little bit.” (when we don’t like something)
  • “You do not like them, so you say. Try them, try them and you may!” (trying something new,especially at the table)
  • “And will you succeed? Yes indeed, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed.” (for encouragement)

Not only is Seuss fun and beneficial for brain, language, cognitive, emotional, and musical development…not only do his books build attention span and usher in moments of authentic connection for families, but he often sneaks in important life lessons/ universal truths for kids and grown-ups alike, lessons that stay with you far beyond childhood. Here are some favorites:

  • The power of imagination: “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”
  • The power of reading: “There are so many things you can learn about, but You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut. The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
  • The power of self-control and independence: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
  • The power of one: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
  • The power of fun and noticing:”Look at me! Look at me! Look at me NOW! It is fun to have fun, But you have to know how.”
  • The power of self-worth: “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”
  • The courage to try new things:“If you never did, you should. These things are fun, and fun is good.”
  • Loyalty and Honesty: “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent.”
  • anti-consumerism: “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas. . . perhaps. . . means a little bit more!”
  • Equality and human value: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
  • Universal Freedom:“And the turtles, of course … all the turtles are free, as turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.”
  • Care for Creation:“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues”

Read, Laugh, and Learn together!




  1. Tamara says:

    Oh, the thinks you can think. . . one of the first books Callie had “memorized” and would read along with Brian. Love it!


  1. […] Incorporate some of the favorite rhymes and phrases into your everyday routines. See these ideas from my post, “Lessons from Dr. Seuss” […]