Theodor Geisel Was Right

(Originally posted on the Huffington Post. You can read more of Tom Gerdy’s work for the Huffington Post here.)

When adults talk of “wonders of the world,” they often refer to the Seven Wonders. If you have ever spent time walking on a beach or in the garden with a four-year-old, I hope you paid attention as the child pointed out some of the seven million wonders of the world. The eyes of young children have an amazing glow. From a child’s perception, everything is new, everything is exciting, and everything is possible. Sadly, somewhere along the journey, many of us lose that glow in our eyes. We no longer see the beauty of the one little broken shell on the beach. We look right past that caterpillar crawling or butterfly that has landed in the garden.

As we age, we sometimes gain wisdom to appreciate and help improve what is around us, but that is not always the case. Far too often, age comes along, and we miss much of the magic of life. Too much knowledge and experience can confuse us. We become cautious and fearful of the possible negative outcomes of our actions. The negativity causes us to lose the glow and the belief that anything is possible. The two words what if switch focus from possibilities to the possibility of failure. We stop thinking we can make a difference. We stop thinking we can change the world.

The next time you think about giving up trying to make a difference, I ask you to go to the words of Theodor Geisel, quoted as saying, “Sometimes, the questions are complicated, and the answers are simple.” Theodor Geisel was a brilliant man who never lost that glow. He spent his life viewing the world from childlike eyes. The result was that he helped many people smile. The world is a happier and brighter place because of Theodor.

While he was helping people smile, he never stopped believing that he could make a difference. Theodor was a writer who while making people smile also made statements about the challenges in the world. Through his writings, he spoke out on such topics as racial equality, fascism, the arms race, and materialism. He continued to believe that he could change the world.

I ask you not to lose the glow as you grow older. Don’t let the complicated world frustrate you, don’t let the confusing world blind you, and don’t ever give up trying to make a difference. The answers are often right in front of you. With the eyes of a child, we can change the world. As a call to action, I give you some additional words by Theodor that reflect his very familiar rhyming style.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

I forgot to mention that most of you have read Theodor’s works dozens of times. You probably know him by a different name — Dr. Seuss.

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