Monday Message: 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
sandpile at Sunday 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 into 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 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
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 a basic policy to always put thing 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 into the world, it is best
to hold hands and stick together.

©Robert Fulghum, 1990, All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, Villard Books: New York, 1990, page 6-7.

Monday Message: Grace of the World

When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. – Wendell Berry

PHOTO by Lucas Piero

I’m Not the Only One

I was born after Yesterday and before Good Morning. I missed the mania and the invasion. When the older kids were drawing their logo on book covers and bathroom stalls, I was pinning up Shaun Cassidy posters on my wall. I know more lyrics from the Bee Gees/Peter Frampton movie than I do the actual Beatle’s classic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I was only 14 when John Lennon died.

In New York City on Thursday, though, I wanted to visit Strawberry Fields – a two-and-a-half acre Garden of Peace – and the IMAGINE memorial, dedicated to John Lennon. It seemed the thing to do.

We made our way up a small incline, through a crowd of tourists and a tour group being led by a man waving a giant red hand in the air. There were Vietnam vets at a card table selling Peace buttons, and a few people sitting on benches with guitars. Three teenage girls posed for joyful photos, while a woman who looked like Joan Baez slowly outlined the mosaic tiles with her fingers.

I snapped a few photos in between arms and legs, and started to walk away, when I heard the first few notes of that song. Tears caught in my throat and I remembered.

I may have been too young, or too preoccupied by Tiger Beat, to have been part of the fan club, but I was not too young to absorb the beautiful idealism and heartfelt intentions of the man or the movement. It is a part of who I am and how I see the world.

For better or for worse, it is how I see the world.

Imagine there’s no heaven

It’s easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky


Imagine all the people

Living for today…
Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one