03 Mar LYRICAL “T3” LEADERSHIP: DR. SEUSS
Happy B’Day -1904, Dr. Seuss (Ted Geisel), inspirational author, illustrator and literary leader.
UP FRONT: I don’t believe his works represent “Orientalism, Anti-Blackness and White Supremacy” as the Loudon, VA Board of Education has recently opined. His 60 books are rich in universal morality. They touch on themes such as environmentalism, inclusiveness, arms control, racial integration, anti-authoritarianism, and consumerism.
Here are some examples:
- TEAMWORK: Dr. Seuss embraced diversity with stories deriding discrimination. Most notably “The Sneetches And Other Stories.”
Here’s an excerpt:
“But because they had stars, all the star-bellied Sneetches,
Would brag: “We’re the best kind of Sneetches on beaches.
With their snoots in the air they would sniff and they’d snort,
We’ll have nothing to do with the plain belly sort.”
- TONE: Ted Geisel was patriotic. He served in the Army Signal Corps during WWII. As an author, he set a mood encouraging his readers to adopt innovation and free thought. Here’s an example from the book, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go”:
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose!”
- TENACITY: His first book, “And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street” was rejected by 27 publishers before printed in 1937!
Here’s another excerpt from “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” which emphasizes perseverance with purpose in pursuit of a passion:
“And when you’re in a slump, you’re not in for much fun,
Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.
But on you will go though the weather be foul,
On you will go though your enemies prowl.
On and on you will hike and I know you’ll hike far,
And face up to your problems whatever they are.”
My Mom read me to sleep with Dr. Seuss’ whimsical rhymes. I’m sure hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of Americans shared that experience. His stories have been translated into scores of languages and happily read around the world for generations. Keynote speakers, myself included, routinely reference his works to audiences which include groups as diverse as Statesmen, Educators, Military personnel and Athletes. I hope we continue to do so. His books – a unique literary treasure in American culture – should not be subjected to censorship and prohibited distribution. Dr. Seuss’ motivational “T3” leadership examples – as demonstrated through his characters and personal journey as a story teller – is something we should be proud of.
– Rear Admiral Paul Becker, USN (Ret) is the Founding President and CEO of The Becker T3 Group, a platform for his motivational and national security keynote speaking. A former Naval Intelligence Officer, he’s successfully led large, diverse, high-performing teams afloat and ashore in peace, crisis and combat. In 2016, The Naval Intelligence Community established “The Rear Admiral Becker ‘Teamwork, Tone, Tenacity Award for Leadership” in his honor