I had never read this book, however, when I was trying to come up with an inspirational message….I heard “Horton Hears a Who”. So I followed that little voice in my head, read the book and was amazed to find this Dr. Suess book really did provide an inspirational life lesson. In fact, this one has several lessons.
A little background
I did a google search on the message Dr. Suess had in mind when he wrote this book. Wikapedia indicated the general message was about equality. I found there was more depth in the message … It wasn’t simply equality. It was written in 1953 after Theodor Suess Geisel/Dr. Suess had visited Japan. It seems he was impressed by Japan’s culture and their belief regarding individualism and self. In Japan the uniqueness of a person is admired and “self” is not merely the person’s personality but self is defined by one’s interaction with others. A few of their core values include thinking of others, doing your best, not giving up, respecting your elders, knowing your role, and working in a group. These values are clearly seen in this story as Horton sets out to help the small citizens of Whoville.
The first lesson – Horton’s Belief in Himself
Horton is out enjoying his day when he believes he hears a noise coming from the clover. Now many of us would be way too occupied with life to even notice a small noise coming from a clover. But Horton is an elephant with exceptional hearing so he investigates this noise he hears. He is convinced it is a person. Now again most of us would negate this thought because it would be highly unlikely for a person to be inside this small clover. So we would probably tell ourselves we were imagining the noise and be on our merry little way. But not Horton. He believes in his gift of exceptional hearing and his instinct that tells him there is a person inside of that clover. He decides it is his duty, his role, to communicate with this person and help this person because…..A Person’s a Person No Matter How Small.
Second Lesson-Horton faces the Bullies and Does Not Give Up
The other animals in the jungle find Horton talking to the clover and decide he is crazy. They do not have the gift of superior hearing so they can not hear the noise coming from the clover. They do not believe Horton Hears a Who. So they proceed to tease Horton and even take the clover from him. This kind of behavior happens a lot in our world. Because someone is different or has a gift that we do not understand, they are teased, made to feel small and some are bullied. In spite of the teasing; even when it seems the clover could never be found; he is not going to give up. He knows that he has to help the small town of Whoville. He is going to do his best to find his small friends. He slowly works through the entire field of clover until he finds his clover. He does all this Because….A Person’s a Person No Matter How Small.
Third Lesson-Whoville works together; Their voices are Heard
Now Horton decides that in order to protect his small friends he must prove to the jungle critters that they do indeed exist. To do this, he tells the Mayor that all of the citizens of Whoville need to raise their voices so they can be heard. In spite of this team effort, the jungle critters still can not hear anything coming from from the clover. As the mayor is searching their town to be sure everyone is doing their best and everyone is raising their voice, he find one citizen not participating. This small person is just playing with his yo yo and appears unaware of the importance of the team effort to be heard. Maybe he feels his voice is too small. Maybe he thinks his voice doesn’t matter. But when the mayor forces this small person to speak up….that one voice makes all the difference. Whoville is heard! Whoville is saved! Because….A Person’s a Person No Matter How Small.
Believe in yourself…Have Faith….You can make a difference
After reading this children’s book I was quite impressed by the lessons it contained. I also found a bible verse that emphasizes how Faith can carry us through difficult situations just like the ones Horton faced in this story. Horton showed courage. He wasn’t afraid or terrified when the jungle critters confronted him. He believed in his mission. He knew he was doing what was right. He kept going and did his very best to save his small friends. What an awesome story!
Be Strong and Courageous. Do Not be Afraid or Terrified because of them, because the Lord, Your God, goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:63