Early last month, I watched my granddaughter walk across the stage and receive her high school diploma. It was in the same school my children received their diploma many years ago.
Standing tall and smiling with diploma in hand, my granddaughter was ready for the future and excited about heading off to college this fall. I remember when she was younger, I would always say to her, “I don’t want you to get any bigger, stay the age you are.”
Today, I say the same thing to my 5-year-old grandson. He always tells me, “no, I want to get bigger.” And, of course, they must. So, acknowledging that I can’t stop the clock from moving forward, I handed my granddaughter a graduation present — a book by Dr. Seuss titled “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”
Some of you may have read it, and some of you may have given it as a graduation present as well. It addresses the balancing act of life with the ups and downs it presents while encouraging us to find the success that lies within us.
It starts like this: “Congratulations! This 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 person who’ll decide where to go.”
Those words, of course, can apply to anyone at any stage in their life, but then Dr. Seuss warns of what could lie ahead. He writes: “With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.”
A couple pages later, he says: “And when things start to happen, don’t worry, don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening, too.” A few pages later, he continues: “You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high fliers, who soar to high heights.”
But as we all know, things don’t always work out, and as Dr. Seuss says: “I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.”
As I read the next part of the book, I almost changed my mind about buying this as a graduation present because what he wrote was sad and depressing, and spoke of times many of us can relate to. Graduations are supposed to happy, uplifting times, but this part of the book definitely was a downer, but it was true.
On one page, he warned: “And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.”
Naturally, he returns to the premise of the book. “Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing.” The book continues with life’s ups and downs, and what Dr. Seuss calls the Great Balancing Act.
It ends with: “And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.) Kid, you’ll move mountains. So ...be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places! Your mountain is waiting. So ... get on your way!
As I read through that book, I realized that all of us, no matter what age, can relate to what Dr. Seuss was saying. It probably would be a good book for any business person to have on their shelf.
For a little added inspiration for my graduating granddaughter, I also picked up “She Persisted Around the World,” a book written by Chelsea Clinton featuring 13 women who changed history.
In the beginning, Clinton writes, “It’s not easy being a girl — anywhere in the world.” She offers short stories about 13 women who didn’t let anyone get in their way who have helped us better understand our world and what’s possible.
Marie Curie, a scientist who became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and one of the women featured in the book said, “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.”
Another, Joanne Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter world, said “We do not need magic to transform our world; we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already.”
Now, it’s time for me to sit back and watch my granddaughter find the power inside her to move mountains. I know she will, and you can, too.