From the archives
What I didn't learn in kindergarten
to Robert All-I-Really-Need-to-Know-I-Learned- in- Kindergarten Fulghum,
not everything I learned at Minges Brook Elementary School was true.
Some was simply
bad science and medicine: Girls (or boys, depending on your gender) give
you "cooties." Toads give you warts. An apple a day keeps the
doctor away. Babies come from cabbage patches. Kill a spider and it will
rain. Step on a crack and break your mother's back. Someday your face is
going to freeze like that!
Some was bad
sociology and psychology: Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words
will never harm me. This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you. Big
boys don't cry. You'll poke your eye out! Be nice and people will be nice
to you. Play fair and you'll win. You can be whatever you want to be. And
they lived happily ever after.
between Play-Doh and Preparation H, we make the disturbing discovery that
words do hurt. Big boys do cry. People who don't play fair often clobber
those who do. We may not "achieve" all our "mind can conceive."
Life is not one long day at Disney World.
naivete infuses children with energetic innocence and enthusiasm. And a
life of broken dreams and promises often produces cynical senior citizens.
But, perhaps there's a balance between Fulghum's positive perspective and
the negativity of nay- sayers.
We do need to
"clean up our own messes," but in reality we often need to clean
up after others. "Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you,"
but only if they are low in fat and cholesterol. "Take a nap every
afternoon," but only a very short one or you'll be wide awake for
those 3 a.m. TV infomercials. We do need to "flush," but sometimes
life's plumbing gets clogged.
then, is the ability to discern what is true and what is false. And to
find that delicate balance between "and they lived happily ever after"
and "the world's going to hell in a handbasket." You can't learn
that in kindergarten.
Copyright © 1988 James N. Watkins
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