I realized that I already know most of what’s necessary to live a meaningful life – that it isn’t all that complicated. I know it. And have known it for a long, long time. Living it – well, that’s another matter, yes? Here’s my Credo:
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:
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 out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
Wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and plants foes 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 your 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 about three o’clock every 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 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.
- What is your reaction to Fulghum’s statement that everything he really needs to know he learned in kindergarten? Do you agree or disagree? Explain your response.
- Think back over your elementary, middle, and high school. What would you do differently if you had the chance? What would you not change?
- What advice would you give to someone entering your high school next year? Decide on the tone and form for your message. You could take a humorous or serious approach.