The Achiever Newsletter
A Surprise from Dr. Seuss!
Every time I begin to think nothing can surprise me — something does!
In my mailbox, I found what was obviously a large hard-cover book, concealed in a plain brown wrapper. Little did I know what irony awaited me!
Last October, I was invited by the Hillsdale County Intermediate School District in Michigan to address a group of more than 250 student leaders from eight high schools for a leadership forum. I gained some valuable insight from that experience. My work requires me to travel this great country of ours from coast to coast on a regular basis. One common thread I have found — regardless of which state I may be in — is the media coverage of today's teenage population. Most of what I read, hear, or see is story after story about our teens being addicted to drugs, sex, alcohol, and violence.
Well, on that chilly October day in Hillsdale County, I spent an entire day with over 250 addicts, and I'm proud to say that I enjoyed every minute of it! That's right, the teens I spent time with were all addicted — addicted to fun, fellowship, leadership, community, their schools, their families, their futures, and each other.
I observed inquisitive faces listening to my message of what it was going to take for them to succeed in business and meet the many challenges awaiting them after graduation. I marveled at their intelligent questions and comments reflecting their concerns and aspirations. I watched and listened to them demonstrate their creativity, dedication, enthusiasm, responsibility, and intelligence as they worked in teams to create action plans to give back to those who have long supported them. Their creative plans included projects for their communities, families, and school organizations.
I saw pride in their stride and smiles on their faces as they shared ideas, met new friends, and simply made the most of this exciting experience. Although I knew only a few of the many participants before the leadership forum, I was extremely proud of every one of them for demonstrating a side of today's teenagers that the media so often neglects to share. And I hope they were proud of themselves as they returned to their schools and communities with the knowledge they acquired that day.
Today, many months after that leadership forum, I opened the large plain brown wrapper to discover an obviously well used copy of a Dr. Seuss book entitled Oh, The Places You'll Go! Inside the front cover of this book was a two-page handwritten letter from a young lady who had attended that leadership forum months earlier. In short, she offered thanks for the many things she had learned at the forum and expressed her appreciation for our recommendation of a number of books the students might find helpful. She pointed out that she was so encouraged by our message that she was seriously considering a change in her college curriculum that would accelerate her entree into the world of big business. She has also visited our website several times and enjoys what we offer there.
As a token of her appreciation she wanted me to add this book to our corporate library. She pointed out that her grandfather has been reading this book to her for years and introduced the book to her as one of the greatest leadership books ever written for children. I could tell by the worn cover and dog-eared pages that this classic had been enjoyed by many over the years.
Enthralled by her letter, I quickly sat down with the book and finished it in short time. Her grandfather was so right! Dr. Seuss had done it again! Here's a short sample of his very unique wisdom:
"You have brains in your head.
I could tell by her words that this book had meant a lot to her over the years and, for that reason, I'll appreciate her generous gift more than any words can ever express. That book, along with that very special letter from that very special young lady, now occupies a place of honor in our corporate library. I highly recommend that you add that title to your own personal and business library as well. And, as the title suggests, I'm sure we're going to hear from this young lady again in the not-too-distant future! This particular surprise was, indeed, a pleasant one.
Publication Date: Summer 2001
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