All You Need To Know

January 29, 2010

Yesterday, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and started my day in a funk.  No reason in particular, just all of those obligations that pile up on adults that we allow to get us down.  Funny, waking up in a funk is rare for me because I typically skip-to-my-lou downstairs to make some Peet’s and eagerly grab my ‘To Do’ list.

So yesterday, I went downstairs to make breakfast for my kindergartener.  As I gathered her homework in her backpack to send her off to school, I spotted something I had never seen before.  The first page of her ‘First Journal’:

i like me

Then I got misty.  What honesty, what confidence, what sincerity (and what a fabulous rose garden) expressed by a five year old on an ordinary piece of lined paper.

My mood instantly changed.  One thing I relish more than anything are the lessons learned from the most unexpected sources.

Then I remembered another humble piece of paper that came home with her on the first day of school.  It was a much recited piece written two decades ago, but still rings true.  Many of you moms have heard these words before, but they bear repeating.

All I Ever Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

by Robert Fulghum

“Most of what 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 sandbox at nursery 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 some every day.

Take a nap every afternoon.  When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.  Be aware of wonder.  Remember the little seed in the plastic 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 plastic cup – they all die.  So do we.

And then remember the book about ‘Dick and Jane’ 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 sane living.

Think of what a better world it would be if we all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about 3 o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap.

Or if we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and clean up our own messes. And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.”

Why is it that sentiments from kindergarten can grip the heart of a full grown cynical adult and bring her back to the reality of what really matters?

“Hold hands and stick together”

hold hands

“Take a nap every afternoon”

take a nap

“Warm cookies are good for you”

warm cookies

“Be aware of wonder”

bodega at sunsetBodega Head before sunset

“Share everything”

cutie with seagull

“The roots go down, the plant goes up . . . but we are all like that.”

Like how when you plant these . . .

lily of the valley bulbs

. . . this happens.

bug on lily of valley

Wishing you little moments filled with beauty from unexpected sources.

Have a lovely weekend.

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