Wednesday, July 7, 2010

All I Really Need To Know...

I spent the 4th of July holiday in Ocean City, NJ with some good friends to enjoy the sun, water, food and conversation. As the evening ebbed away Marian, who is a spunky 84-year-old, ran to get two poems to share. As I was the only one present who could read the small print I began my cold reading.

"All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten"

Here I stopped reading and stated excitedly that this is great because I just finished teaching kindergarten. To this Marian gave me "the look" and said "if you are going to read it, read it right!"

So, with the pressure on I continued my dramatic reading of this familiar poem by Robert Fulghum.

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.

These are the things I learned:
  • Share everything.
  • Play fair.
  • Don't hit people.
  • Put things back where you found them.
  • Clean up your own mess.
  • Don't take things that aren't yours.
  • Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
  • Wash your hands before you eat.
  • Flush.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
  • Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
  • Take a nap every afternoon.
  • When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
  • Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
  • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.
And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.
I am already looking forward to next school year!


Barbara said...

One of my favorites:)
I so happy for you that you get to do it again next year ♥
Happy Summer my friend!

Gary said...

Happy Summer to you too! I am looking forward to reading about your experiences next school year and sharing mine as well.


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