Dr. Seuss’s book, 'Oh, the Places You'll Go'

 
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Friend: Sharon

Tell me about yourself

I am a lecturer in Education who is passionate about using technology to break down barriers and connect children with their global peers. I am also a mum, gran and someone who likes to embrace experiences in life no matter where and how challenging they are.

How do we know each other?

Liz and I know one another through work with the British Council.

What did you write to me/say to me in the early days of Coraline’s arrival?

The first message was a simple one to welcome Coraline into this world and to say she is so lucky to have two special parents.

 
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Talk to me about Dr. Seuss’s book, 'Oh, the Places You'll Go'

This book is my life book and one I gift to all I know due to each page being a different page of our lives. It is not a linear book as one can stay stuck on one page, jump to another or revisit a previous page, just like life.

I was first given the book by a friend when I was experiencing the darkest days of my life after I sadly lost my husband John to cancer. There were many times when darkness prevailed me and life had no meaning, goal, direction or focus. My life stopped the day that John was taken from me resulting in existing rather than being.

My life had been this wonderful life that represented the famous lines from the book:

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go"

With the brains in my head and feet in my shoes I steered myself in the direction of pushing the boundaries of education and always striving for innovative ways to engage learners. And right enough, true to Dr Seuss’s words:

"OH! THE PLACES YOU'LL GO! You'll be on your way up! You'll be seeing great sights! You'll join the high fliers who soar to high heights."

My life became an exciting era where I was leading innovation in education. The more success I achieved, the hungrier I was for more. As wonderful as this all appears, it came at a cost in the form of time with my family and John. Time that could not be put on paused then switched on when I had the time. Time that was precious, however, I had no real understanding of this until what Dr Seuss warned:

"I'm sorry to say so but, sadly, it's true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you."

And it was one hell of a bang-up that exploded and left life where time became my enemy as I tried to free myself of it. Life became a slump and resembled life as described in the book:

"You'll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you'll be in a Slump. And when you're in a Slump, you're not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done." 

A slump is not a good place to be and one that can mask all that is good in life. And right enough, being alone was just as the book said:

"And when you're alone, there's a very good chance you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won't want to go on." 

But I did go on, even although the Slump was the only place I wanted to remain. I went on due to the amazing support of friends who believed that I could:

"On and on you will hike, And I know you'll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are."

Without their support, patience and silence, I hiked on. I hiked across Thailand alone in 2015, I hiked across Spain for 219 miles alone in 2016, I hiked across streets, forests and mountains here there and everywhere alone, then I hiked 376 miles from Florence to Rome in 2017 with virtual family and friends around the world with six of these days accompanied by Gordon. Experiencing life with others helped me out of the Slump and made facing up to problems much easier. The most important part was allowing people to be part of my life again.

Dr. Seuss’s book sits in my bag and at different times I take it out to see which page I am on. The book is not a linear story of life where each page represents a different chapter in life. Instead, it is a book that represents the sudden changes in life that are passable, returnable and fragmented.

The reason I gave Liz this book for her, Kevin and Coraline, was to let them see that no matter what they will face there are places to go.

 
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Sharon's office doctorate board with quotes from the book on it to inspire her to work

 

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about many things and now put life and experiences high on the agenda. Seeing the world around me and experiencing it with others. Walking miles and miles so that I can pause and experience the moment. I am passionate about my family and friends as we never know what is around the corner. I am passionate about not being afraid to try new things. I am passionate about music whether playing my piano for my own therapy, sharing my love of music with others or listening to my talented family play. Finally, I am passionate about motivating my student teachers to be inspirational teachers who will break down the barriers of learning, whether this be within the classroom or out-with.

What would you like to say to Coraline?

"You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So...get on your way!"

Anything you would like to add?

Life is an experience that is more meaningful when shared with others.

 

 
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Sharon