5 Lessons to Learn From 'Where The Wild Things Are'

It's not just about the wild rumpus.

In 1963 author Maurice Sendak gave the world a different kind of children's bedtime story. "Where the Wild Things Are" not only celebrates the imagination of children, but teaches some very adult life lessons as well. Today, on what would have been Sendak's 87th birthday, we take a look back at the delightful story, and how it can improve our everyday lives.

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A good imagination can get you out of tough situations


"That very night in Max’s room a forest grew

and grew

and grew until his ceiling hung with vines

and the walls became the world all around."

Some days our lives may seem very mundane. We get up, go to work in a cubicle or office, get in the car or train, come home, eat dinner, and go to bed. But life doesn't always have to be so mundane. The go-getters and doers in society use their imaginations to make things better.

When Max was sent to his room without dinner, he dreamed up a vast imaginary jungle, making his punishment a lot better than it originally seemed.  

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Take chances

"Where the Wild Things Are"

"And an ocean tumbled by with a private boat for Max 

and he sailed off through night and day."

If Max hadn't gotten on that boat, he would never have met the wild things and discovered their imaginary land. There are plenty of times that boat, which may be a little uncertain on its destination, comes to us. And we have to make the choice on whether or not to see where it goes. Don't be afraid to take the opportunities that appear to you. You could find a greater outcome on the other side.

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Confidence counts

Warner Bros. Pictures

"And tamed with the magic trick

of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once

and they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all

and made him king of all wild things."

Max could have been really afraid of the wild things. They appeared to be violent and scary. But when he showed them how brave he actually was, and that he wouldn't back down as hard as they tried to scare him, they respected him. 

Many times in life we deal with people that try to intimidate or belittle us. By approaching them with confidence, and showing them your best side, you can achieve anything.

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It’s the little things

"Where the Wild Things Are"

"Then all around from far away across the world

he smelled good things to eat

so he gave up being king of where the wild things are."

Sometimes you can experience fabulous things—cocktails on a rooftop in Manhattan, lounging poolside in the Bahamas, driving a Maserati, becoming a partner at your company—but a lot of times, it's the little things that really are the best. Getting a hug from your mom who lives far away, or laying in the hammock in your backyard, biting into a really good cheeseburger—sometimes these things trump all the so-called "great" things in life.

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You can always go home

Warner Bros.

"And Max the king of all wild things was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all."

Dorothy said, "There's no place like home," and for Max, this was also true. No matter where you go, no matter where you travel, no matter how hard your life gets, you can always go home. Home means different things to everyone, but it also means that you are going somewhere where you are welcomed with open arms.  

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Schuman, Nicole. "5 Lessons to Learn From 'Where The Wild Things Are'." ThoughtCo, Sep. 8, 2016, thoughtco.com/lessons-where-the-wild-things-are-3023419. Schuman, Nicole. (2016, September 8). 5 Lessons to Learn From 'Where The Wild Things Are'. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/lessons-where-the-wild-things-are-3023419 Schuman, Nicole. "5 Lessons to Learn From 'Where The Wild Things Are'." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/lessons-where-the-wild-things-are-3023419 (accessed December 11, 2017).