I was talking to a friend the other day about her difficult co-workers. She told me about the bad attitudes, backstabbing, and downright deplorable manners that take place everyday where she works. I was appalled! Do adults really act like this? It got me to thinking…is it true what they say? Did I really learn everything that I needed to know in kindergarten? I was reminded of the poem by Robert Fulghum:
Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
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:
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.
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 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 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 cleaned 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.
It all seems so simple, doesn’t it? But the more I read this simple list of things learned in kindergarten, the more I think that if my friend’s co-workers simply followed these rules, they would have a much better work environment.
Don’t get me wrong-I am forever grateful for the opportunity to get a complete college education and to have the valuable work experience that I’ve gained over the years, but even with the bachelor’s degree and the years of experience in the banking industry, without these life lessons, where would I be? And when you encounter someone who CLEARLY did not learn these lessons in kindergarten, don’t you automatically wonder what kind of parents they have? You wonder “Wow. Their mother never taught them how to share. Sad.”
Make your mom and dad proud. Live by these simple rules.