All We Really Need to Know

Kaya had her mini day at Kindergarten yesterday. 2 hours.

I am not sure what I was expecting but it wasn’t that my child would be guided into the classroom without me, without my meeting the teacher even.

Off she went, easily, with nary a pleading look back. I know since I ran up to the windows, plastered my face there, and checked to make sure she was okay.

Oh yes I did…

The teacher probably marked me as a problem parent, but my girl, she was far too busy standing around a table playing with a couple of boys to notice the embarrassment that is her mother.

With sunglasses firmly planted on my face, nobody notices the welling of the eyes. Not full on tears at least.

Not yet.

In all the shuffling me away from the door, away from my girl, I barely register that I am given a piece of paper. Brennyn grabs it (it is blue and for mom after all, and so a must have)  but I am too busy acting all cool and unphased to care.

Until we get home where it is unceremoniously dumped on the garage floor in favour of her bike helmet. Eventually I pick it up and have a glance. Then a read.

Which is about when the tears arrived.

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

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.

*

The tears escaping are a mixture of melancholy, happiness, and relief topped off with a Hell Yah! and a Hallelujah! to boot.

These are my lessons to my kids.

Being reinforced.

I have back up!

With a teary smile, I scoop up Brennyn and head inside for snack time- cookies and milk- where I forget for the moment about bullies and missing my girl, shyness and adjustments. Instead I focus on the fun and the friends, the knowledge and the explorations, the curiosity and the lessons in store for her.

Timeless lessons learned before Kindergarten, and after, but perhaps at no other time so pure and joyful as in Kindergarten.

Profundity in wonder.

I think it’s going to be a good year.

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