Gov. Lynch held up a page of the Dr. Seuss classic “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” last Friday as he helped students celebrate I Love to Read week at Southwick School in Northfield. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
February 29, 2012NORTHFIELD — "Congratulations! Today is your day. You're off to Great Places! You're off and away," began Gov. John Lynch as he helped wrap up "I Love to Read" week at Southwick School last Friday morning.
The governor sat on a podium with toy renditions of the Cat in the Hat at his feet as he read the classic Dr. Seuss story, "Oh the Places You'll Go!" to the entire third, fourth and fifth grade student body of the school.
Lynch took time to share the colorful and amusing illustrations for all to see as, page by page, he read them the challenges they might face, the options they might have, and how they all could succeed on their journey through life.
The story brought laughter at times, such as when the Seuss rhymes cautioned that students could, at times, meet obstacles that might even scare them right out of their pants.
When he finished reading, Lynch confessed it was one of his favorite children's books.
"It's very relevant, whether you're an adult or a teacher or a governor," he said. "So tell me, what does it mean?"
Some raised their hand to say it brought a message that anything is possible. Others thought it was meant to help you chose the right path in life, and many felt it isn't always easy to succeed, but one should never stop trying.
Lynch agreed. He told them that in 2004, he had to make a decision on whether or not to run for governor, something he had never done before. It was a risk, he admitted, and many people told him he might not succeed, or it cold turn out to be a job he might not even enjoy. In the end, he decided it was a risk worth taking, and he was successfully elected to the first of an eventual four terms as the Governor of New Hampshire.
"If I'd chosen not to run, well, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to do something that it turns out I love," Lynch said.
He encouraged the students to weigh their risks, follow their dreams and never be afraid or stop trying.
During their week of fun reading programs, the boys and girls took time out for a little writing, too, and presented the governor with a basketful of questions. Each was written on a slip of paper adorned with a photo of Lynch. He reached in and selected several of their questions to read aloud and answer.
Anthony asked what it was like to be governor — was it fun, or perhaps strange?
Lynch said when people find something they love to do, it is never "work," and he loved his job.
Another question addressed what it was like to be around people a lot, and Lynch said that was what made his job really special.
"I love people. If you like being around people, being governor is the best job in the world," he said.
Sophia asked how hard his job was because, to her, it seemed he must be tired all the time. Lynch chuckled, and said he is indeed busy all the time. He arises each day at 5 a.m. for his trip to the state house, and many nights attends as many as three or four functions or meetings. Lynch assured her, though, that it was something he enjoyed, and any governor needs to like being busy seven days a week.
The governor also entertained the children with tales about his home life, like how he met his wife Susan. When Lynch asked if anyone had any idea where he had first met her, one young boy guessed, "In a dark alley." While Lynch later revealed it was actually while working at Friendly's Restaurant, the innocent question brought lots of delighted laughter from the governor, staff and parents.
With his story about how his family adopted a golden retriever, the governor then turned to a discussion on how the Chinook became the state dog of New Hampshire. Through the process in which he officially declared the Chinook as the state dog, the governor was able to explain quite easily how a bill is made into law. Ending with that brief lesson on state government, Lynch then took a few minutes to pose for photos with each class before heading back to Concord.
"I Love to Read Week" is recognized in schools across the state each year in an effort to promote literacy amongst children. A number of events were held throughout the Winnisquam Regional School District last week before students headed off on February vacation week.