Friday, January 23, 2009

DAY 23: The Shyster

23/365 The Shyster, originally uploaded by Kikigill.

Last night, I scared up the old copy of Green Eggs and Ham that we were raised on. I read it to Liam. He loved it due to the fact that there is a train and a car and a boat in it...I would not, could not on a train...I also like to think he liked the cadence of all that fun rhyming language spilling out of his mother's mouth.

Anyhow, as I was reading it as an adult, I was struck by what a shyster that Sam-I-Am is. Being in sales and being a mother, a nagging approach to getting what you want is not my favorite method. He's just plain annoying. He gives the main character not a minute to consider any of his offers, he just keeps bombarding him with potential scenarios whereby he might want to eat green eggs and ham. I assure you, Sam-I-Am would have met with a violent end had he been trying to persuade me to eat those nasty looking breakfast foods.

When I was training sales people, I used to describe two scenarios of potential sales tacts. Imagine if you will walking into a high end suit shop to buy a suit. Imagine one shop where you are immediately pounced upon by a salesperson dangling suits from each arm...this salesperson is bringing you all the top selling suits and not taking your wishes and needs into consideration. This is a bad salesperson. This is the Sam-I-Am approach.

A good salesperson welcomes you and sits down with you for a consultation before even getting to any suits. What colors do you like to wear? Tell me about your favorite suit? What is the occasion? Are you a trendy or traditional suit guy? etc...

See the difference? So, is Green Eggs and Ham teaching my child to wheedle, whine, persist and carry on to eventually get what he wants? Or is it teaching him to try new foods and he might actually like them? What do you think?


Big_Daddy said...

You know, I never thought of Sam-I-Am as a pushy salesman nor have I thought of the book as "pushing" the idea of nagging to get ones way, but now that you've brought it to light, you've absolutely right! LOL

We've been reading the Seuss books since bigbro was about 6 months. Now, at 4 y/o, he's reading them on his own. While he does "wheedle, whine, persist and carry on" to get his way occasionally, on the surface I can tell he likes the rhyming and meter of the words. Of course, he also gets a kick out of the outlandish things the characters do!

While we always try our best to find appropriate books for him to read, I'm finding that it might be good thing to include examples of undesirable behavior so that they can be pointed out. Accentuate the positive and LEARN FROM, not eliminate, the negative. That said, I'm not sure there is a repercussion to go with Sam-I-AM's pushy-ness.

What I think is interesting is wether you put (or notice) yourself in the part of the unnamed grinch-guy or Sam-I-AM. Sam-I-Am definitely looks like the parent trying to get a child to eat his food, no?! I'VE DONE THAT ROLE BEFORE! I wonder if my son has put himself in the place of SAM-I-AM? I would think that where a child places himself in a story would have to affect what they take away from it.

Great Post! We are definitely Seuss fans in our house:) I won't take over your comments!

btw - these were a few of my oldest's favorite Seuss Beginner Books:

A Fly Went By
Fox in Socks
A Fish Out of Water
PJ Funnybunny

Amelia's moms said...

Seuss is full of pushy characters - that Cat in the Hat character just won't go away! Keeps the books action packed I suppose....