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Lyons: A little something about tweetle beetles

Tea Party darling du jour Ted Cruz on Tuesday went to Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” in his budget fight over Obamacare funding as a federal government shutdown looms.

Dr. Seuss, also a favorite for bedtime reading in my household, is the perfect inspiration for the rest of us forced to witness this odd political theater.

One of the favorites in regular rotation at the moment is “Fox in Socks,” which has a passage that seems more apropos of the government shutdown fight.

“When tweetle beetles fight, it’s called a tweetle beetle battle. And when they battle in a puddle, it’s a tweetle beetle puddle battle. AND when tweetle beetles battle with paddles in a puddle, they call it a tweetle beetle puddle paddle battle.”

My personal favorite is “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.” If we forced them to watch U.S. Senate hearings on C-SPAN, my children might ask my wife, “Why are they sad and glad and bad?” “I do not know, go ask your dad.”

A real response would elude me, but Seuss always provides, “From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.”

The irony of Cruz’s author choice was that Seuss, creator of the quintessential tree-hugging Lorax, was a known liberal Democrat and supporter of FDR’s New Deal. While I suspect the Cat in the Hat is Libertarian, I’ve admittedly no idea the politics of Sam I Am, the Grinch or Yertle the Turtle.

• • •

If you’re interested in doing something even more meaningful for children than reciting Dr. Seuss, Northwest Herald reporter Jim Dallke wrote Sunday about an area need for more male mentors for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County program.

As a BBBS board member and a person blessed with plenty of good male role models as a child, it’s an important issue to me. Studies have shown how effective the program can be in a child’s life.

A 1995 study of 950 children examined the impact on children after just 18 months of being matched with a Big. Half of the children received matches, while the others were placed on a waiting list. The matched Littles were:

• 46 percent less likely to begin using illegal drugs;

• 27 percent less likely to begin using alcohol;

• 52 percent less likely to skip school; and

• 37 percent less likely to skip a class.

Understandably, a thorough background check is required for mentors, who must commit to meeting with their Littles two to four times a month for at least 18 months.

There are 21 boys and three girls waiting for Bigs in McHenry County right now, including a 7-year-old McHenry boy who’s been on the waiting list for one year.

Get more information at www.bbbsmchenry.org or call 815-385-3855.

Please consider becoming a Big if you’re able to do so. These kids don’t need another parent; they just need a friend and a positive adult role model.

Even if you’re suspicious of the Lorax and his global warming doomsday forecast, the spirit of his message applies to many things besides truffula trees and swami swans.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” 

• Kevin Lyons is news editor of the Northwest Herald. Reach him at 815-526-4505 or email him at kelyons@shawmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @KevinLyonsNWH.

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