Lessons from kindergarten and on

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 29, 2005

With the return to school for our area students, I thought I would share one of my favorite thoughts about what life has to offer.

It is from the book, Everything I Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten.

For those of you who have never read it, it goes like this:

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"Most of what 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 sandbox at nursery school.

These are the things I learned: Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you find 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 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 everyday some.

Take a nap every afternoon. When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the plastic 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 plastic cup — they all die. So do we.

An then remember the book about Dick and Jane 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 sane living.

Think of 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 blankets for a nap. Or if we had a basic policy for our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and cleaned up our 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."

This year, I have one nephew who enters K-4 and another who will enter full-fledged kindergarten.

In the last few months, I've pondered what their school lives will be like.

Will they be brilliant students or star athletes or better yet, both?

Will they be like their parents and fall in love in high school and marry their high school sweetheart?

What kind of trouble will they be in from time to time?

What wil be their favorite subject?

What teacher will they remember always?

These are all things that we go through in our lives.

I know I always hated math and science, but I adored my math teacher at Highland Home, Lanore Taylor, as well as my English teacher, Nonie Taylor, also at Highland Home.

But there are the others along the way that stick out in my mind.

Janice Norman, Mildred Roper, Craig Pouncey, Cecilia Gardener, Ronnie McVay, Marline Cowles, Margaret Folmar, Rose Ellis, Frances Benson, Bennie Payne, Evelyn Trumbo, Jennifer Shell, Peggy Horn, Kathi Wallace, Don Yancey, James Lewis and so many others along the way.

Yes, I learned a lot in kindergarten, but thanks to many other wonderful teachers, I also learned a lot along the way.

Here's hoping you all have the most wonderful lives and the most excellent school year!

Jay Thomas is managing editor of the Greenville Advocate and can be reached at 334-383-9302, ext. 136 or via email at jay.thomas@greenvilleadvocate.com.