Summary: I used Seuss's Oh the Places you will go to introduce this message about choices and the choices that Joseph made and the consequences of those choices.
Oh, the places you’ll go
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What a great book. Here is a confession; I had never read this book before I decided on the series. The other three I had read or had read to me as a child and read them to my children but not “Oh the Places you’ll go.” I had quoted from it but never actually read it. What a great read, I have already read it to our Granddaughter I think everyone who has a kid should have this book in their library and read it to them.
Oh the places you will go was first published in January 1990, making it the last book published before Dr. Seuss’s death on September 24, 1991 at the age of 86. You may or may not know that Seuss, Theodor Geisel was married twice but never had children. He has been quoted as saying, “You have 'em; I'll entertain 'em.”
Oh, the places you’ll go! Is written in the second person and uses the future tense to describe what life will be like for the main character, a young boy simply identified as “You”. And it really nails it, the ups and downs, the choices that will be made and what life will be like.
One source indicated that the book has become a popular gift for graduates and that sales spike in the spring of each year to about 300,000 copies.
You don’t have to be around Denn very long to come to know that I am a firm believer that we are the sum result of the choices we make. We can make excuses, we can cast blame, but ultimately each one of us is the result of the choices we make in this life.
Our future life started being defined by the choices we made as a child, would we be a good student or a bad student? Who would our friends be? Would we choice the easy way or the right way? Those choices would set us on a path that would ultimately lead us to today. For better or for worse.
It is not a matter of accepting the blame it is simply a matter of accepting the responsibility. Because here is the very essence of what I am saying: If the choices you made yesterday brought you to where you are today. Then the choices you make today will take you to where you are tomorrow. Which means that you have control of your destiny.
Or as William Ernest Henley wrote “It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll; I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”
The story of Joseph is a story of choices, and had Jacob sat down and read his son “Oh, the places you’ll go!” when Joseph was a boy then Seuss’ tale would have seemed prophetic later in life. Because there were times of success, and times of failure, and times of waiting.
The story of Joseph is so familiar that we sometimes never see the roller coaster ride that Joseph was on. His life was a series of disasters and blessings. Some were the result of bad choices he made, and some the result of good choices he made, but they were all the result of his choices. The last thirteen chapters of Genesis chart the life of Joseph, the boy with the coat of many colours.
The story begins in Genesis 37 when Joseph was seventeen, and looking at it as a simply a human story, after all God isn’t even mentioned in that chapter, it is a most unpromising start. Hardly the type of beginning that you would expect for one of the greatest civilisations in the history of mankind. Genesis 37:3 Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe.
You have to realize that the secret to the entire story is in that last line So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe. This was the flowing robe worn by a VIP who did no manual labour. If anyone in the family should have been privileged to wear such a robe it should have been Reuben, the eldest not Joseph who was practically the baby of the family. And the foolishness of Joseph’s father destroyed any chance that Joseph may have had for a normal relationship with his brothers.
Now to be really frank I don’t like Joseph at this particular juncture in history. I think that he was an immature obnoxious little pup and had I been one of Joseph’s eleven brothers I probably would have voted with the majority and been done with the problem once and for all. “That’s a terrible attitude Pastor, after all Joseph was a man of God.” True and as he matured that became evident, but in the beginning he was just annoying.