The wisdom of Horton the elephant

6 Jul

We’ve been watching some classic Dr. Seuss shows around here lately thanks to the library, and one of our favourites is “Horton hatches an egg”, in which sweet Horton the elephant is roped in by an eyelash-batting mama bird to sitting on her egg so she can vacation and live it up.  I think, whether you have kids nearby as an excuse or not, all people should watch this short little video.

With break-ups and divorce as common as blowing your nose, we could learn something about character from that egg-sitting elephant.  His mantra throughout the show is “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant; an elephant’s faithful, 100 percent.”

Now, this is no meaningless elephant drivel – this elephant goes through some seriously tough times trying to keep the promise he made to keep that egg warm.  He survives a flood, doesn’t budge through a raging winter, withstands the scorn and laughter of all his friends, stands up to hunters with a gun, is carted off to the circus and made to sit in a sweltering room and be gawked at all day.  He utters his mantra through sneezes, anger, fear, and heart-rending tears.

I think all too often we are quick to blame someone else for our unhappiness or frustration, but Horton has it right – the selfish mama bird is not worth dwelling on.  What’s important is who he is, what his character is made of, and the comfort of those in his care.

This is the same Horton who “hears a Who” in classic Dr. Seuss lit and a remade movie from 2008.  His character holds true, as he battles mocking friends and threatening birds and kangaroos to protect a speck of dust where he is sure he hears people who are just too small to see.  In this story he repeats the mantra, “A person’s a person, no matter how small”.

Horton, you are a beautiful elephant, and all these years later, I still love Dr. Seuss.

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