Less of a quote, more of a poem.
Listen to Mustn’ts, child, listen to the Don’ts.
Listen to the Shouldn’ts, the Impossibles, the Won’ts.
Listen to the Never Haves, then listen close to me.
Anything can happen, child, Anything can be.
Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974)
When I was in the first grade, we had a contest to see who could memorize and perform the most poems. I loved doing it. I memorized many Shel Silverstein poems. He is the first writer that I can specifically remember making me want to read more. Our teacher (Sr. Kathleen) read many of his poems to us.
When I started teaching, I taught Special Education in an area of extreme poverty and violence. I wanted my students to dream. They were probably too young to quite understand everything that can be tied to his words, but I tried to embody this poem in my teaching. You want to know how plants grow? Great, let’s find out — here’s a flower, let’s look at all the parts (we got rid of the dirt to study the roots). You don’t think you could have a certain job because of the color of your skin? Let’s watch the inauguration of President Obama. Your mom said you were stupid? Let’s look at your portfolio to see how far you’ve come. You must do the work, but anything can be.