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Monday, February 27, 2006

ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN (a guide for global leadership)


Alice Evans Schlenger, my kindergarten teacher, died on Saturday. She was 97 years old! That means she was probably too old to be teaching our class. I clearly recall that we were a wild, eclectic bunch. Even the white kids were hood saavy. They had to be. They were interacting on a daily basis with kids who were living in some crazy conditions. Many of our parents were single. Some were struggling with drug problems. One kid's mom was killed by his dad, who was serving time in prison. We were all poor, but really had no idea.

I remember us being happy and oh so boisterous. Mrs. Schlenger, even moving toward the end of her professional career, was able to shape and develop a crazy group of youngsters, making them ready to receive the years of education that would follow. I thank her for that and for a marvelous year in my life that I can look back upon and only remember good things.

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.

[Source: "ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN" by Robert Fulghum. See his web site at http://www.robertfulghum.com/ ]


Posted by Rodney :: 6:08 AM :: 6 Comments:

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