I never went to Kindergarten. When I was five years old, Kindergarten was optional, and my parents opted not to send me. Later in life, they would opt to not send me to college, either – but that is material for an entirely different blog.
In an age when we literally begin our children’s educations prior to their first birthdays, I began my education three months after I turned six, which put me behind by at least five years. That’s a lot of time to make up… So when a friend shared a book with me by Robert Fulghum, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” I was confused about many things. Of his 16 rules, here are a few:
- Share everything. Maybe that should have been, “Share most things.” Share toys, puppy kisses, hugs and laughter. Never share a cold – that is simply not cool. The same goes for measles, chicken pox and stomach flu. But never EVER share a lie or an untruth. The 9th commandment says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” and believe me, it is NOT cool to disobey commandments.
- Play fair. Had I written it, it undoubtedly would have said, “Play fairly,” but it’s a great rule, nonetheless, and when followed carefully, can make the world a much more fun place in which to live and play.
- Don’t hit people. I think that should be expanded to include, “don’t hit, push, trip, kick, choke, drown, shoot, run over, stab, poison or otherwise injure people.” My way would have never fit on a tablet, but it does lead us to the 6th commandment, “thou shalt not kill.” Some versions of the Bible have been updated to read “thou shalt not murder” but since I didn’t go to kindergarten, I’m not sure of the difference. Both ways, someone ends up dead.
- Put things back where you found them and
- Clean up your own mess. Are these two not the exact same thing?
- Don’t take things that aren’t yours. No exceptions. To take something that doesn’t belong to you is one of the most uncool things anyone can do. The 8th commandment tells us: “Do not steal.” That is so straight forward, it requires no further comment.
- Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. A good, honest “I’m so sorry” goes a long way in mending hearts and relationships. It amazes me that those two words – I’m sorry – are so difficult for children and adults alike. In Fulghum’s words, “sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can break your heart.”
There are more rules – really cool ones - but you get the message. Some seem to parallel the rules we learn from the bible - not all of them, but some. And the remaining – those which don’t appear anywhere in scripture – are pretty good suggestions, as well:
- Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Well, perhaps not so good for your waistline, but they certainly are good for the soul.
- Take a nap every afternoon. I don’t know how anyone can even argue with this one, it’s so obvious!
- No matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.
One last thought from Fulghum: “If the dream is held close to the heart, and imagination is applied… everything is possible.” Albert Einstein one of the smartest people in the world, said, “Imagination is more important than information.” I’m not sure I believe that, but I’m sure I don’t not believe it…
An abundance of peace and love to each of you!