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One of my absolute favorite poems in the entire world is the famous poem written by Robert Fulgham, “All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”. I have loved this poem for years, even before I stepped foot as a teacher into a kindergarten classroom. There are a few different versions of the poem but here’s the one I generally like the most (although the variations are minor):
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 someone.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life – learn some and draw some and paint some 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.
BE AWARE OF WONDER.
Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? We are taught all of these things in Kindergarten yet why do we as adults forget to live by them? Think about each and every line and how they could possibly apply to your life as an adult or as a parent. “Say your sorry when you hurt someone???” You mean that lunatic that had it coming anyway because they cut you off on the highway so you just had to play a thirty second game of “Road Rage” just to show them who is boss? Or how about that parent that you judged at pick up at school because they never look at you or say hello because in truth they are painfully shy and you thought they just had an attitude problem – do you owe them an apology? You may not need to say it out loud because they never knew you thought this from the beginning but you could feel a little remorse and put yourself out there to try to connect with them.
How about the line that says “When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together”? Stick together!!! I love this. Listen, life is hard enough, why try to go at it alone? I am as guilty as this as the next person. I have always had trouble accepting help from others but if YOU need help? Well, I’m your girl! First in line. It has taken me years (and truthfully four kids) to realize that not only can I NOT do it alone, I don’t have to! It’s not always easy accepting help from others because after all, what does that say about me? That I’m weak? No, all it says is that I have finally realized my limitaions as a human being and that I am surrounded by countless amazing people in my life that love me and care for me when I need them!
“Be aware of wonder”… that’s a great line. You know what wonder I’M aware of and marvel every day at? The children in my class. These kids are five and six years old. Think about that – they have only gotten here five or six years ago. Like… on the earth! I have sweaters, boots and coats older than that. And in five or six years these kids have learned unconditional love – no matter what I say or do, these kids think I’m the greatest- why??? Because their view of the world around them is so pure and innocent and unaffected by outside influences that they can only see life this way. Even the children that have endured hardship, separation or loss, are still able to marvel and wonder at our butterflies emerging from their butterfly garden in class or even something as simple as watching our beta fish eat his breakfast every morning and jump out of the water to get his food. These children hurt eachother’s feelings and leave eachother out sometimes coming to me in tears, reporting the crime committed. When they are told to talk it out and one says,”I’m sorry I did that to you” and the other one looks them in the eyes and says “I forgive you”, guess who is aware of the wonder…ME. I am. I am in awe and wonder-and for that…I consider myself the luckiest person on the planet to do what I get to do every, single day.