LESSONS FROM DR. SEUSS
Anyone who has ever read a Dr. Seuss book to an entranced child knows that there are many messages for adults embedded in the rhyming stories. As a family lawyer, I especially note two tales in “Sneetches and Other Stories.”
Sneetches come in two types: with and without stars on their stomachs. The underclass Sneetches without stars meet someone (Sylverster McMonkey McBean) who says he can change all that and make their world better. He does this by affixing stars. It works. They are as good as the other Sneetches – momentarily. Then, by the same contrivance, McBean assists those Sneetches wearing stars to get one-up again by removing their stars. They assert their new superiority. The process continues to be reversed as each tries to best the other. Each action requires payment to McBean. Eventually, both types of Sneetches run out of money, McBean leaves with their money and they are forced to find a way to co-exist.
People contemplating divorce, especially those thinking they can hire a lawyer who can make everything right, should heed the lesson. Being “one up,” being right, may not be so important. Learning how to live with the reality of divorce before all the family resources are consumed is important.
The same slight volume introduces us to a Northbound Zax and a Southbound Zax. Going their ways, they meet (“ . . . bumped. There they stood. Face to face.
Face to Face.”) Neither is willing to step aside to facilitate the other’s passage. So they stand immovable as highways are built around them and a new city encircles them.
Caught up in a belief that the direction they intend to go is the only way, litigating partners may find complicated structures created around them by the judicial system, hemming them in and costing time, energy, and options, while they stand firmly in place. In our family law practice, we have to identify, with our clients, the costs and benefits of moving to one side or finding other ways of moving forward.
Thank you, Dr. Seuss.