Things we know, or should know

For this blogging effort, I spend hours every day reading documents, commentaries and news sources. Occasionally, something reminds me of a piece I wrote years ago. That tempts me to bring the original article back to the top. This is an example, first published in October 2013.

Robert Fulghum grew up in Texas, worked as a ditch-digger, newspaper carrier, ranch hand, and singing cowboy. After college and a brief career with IBM, he completed a degree in theology. For 22 years he served as a Unitarian parish minister in the Pacific Northwest and taught art, music and philosophy.

Fulghum has written eight best-selling books. The most famous, published first in 1988, is All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten. In it, he gives simple instructions for a good life, all worth remembering.

  • 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.
  • 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 in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.

Fulghum focuses attention on things we learn as children. We are better people if we live by these deceptively simple precepts. However, the less naive among us may learn additional things after kindergarten. A few of those have been stated by sages of the past:

  • Don`t worry about avoiding temptation… as you grow older, it will avoid you.
  • There are very few honest friends – the demand is not particularly great.
  • One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.
  • Some fellows get credit for being conservative when they are only stupid.
  • There is only one way to achieve happiness on this terrestrial ball, and that is to have either a clear conscience, or none at all.
  • Character is much easier kept than recovered.
  • The surest way to be deceived is to consider oneself cleverer than others.
  • Always do right. This will surprise some people and astonish the rest.
  • It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
  • Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

Another list that caught my eye is from Wichozanni Village:

Wichozanni is a lakota word meaning “Live in Health”. We believe that we can and will live happier and healthier lives by preserving our Earth, our Culture and our Traditions through the Teachings and Ceremonies of our Indigenous Ancestors.

The 7 Spirit Given Teachings:

  • Live in health
  • Remember the generations
  • Live quietly
  • Live happy
  • Help each other
  • Walk with the power of the great spirit
  • Honor and respect.

Joe Oliver and Stephen Harper would find the above to be radical and dangerous teachings. The world now prefers slogans attuned to accumulation and consumption:

  • Live in wealth
  • Reward your inheritors
  • When you’ve got it, flaunt it.
  • You are in a beauty contest every day of your life.
  • Get more out of now.
  • If it feels good then just do it.
  • I’m only here for the beer.
  • Live richly.
  • Live today. Tomorrow will cost more.

Categories: Smile

2 replies »

  1. I still have all my school report cards, including kindergarten. Kindergarten teacher comments were to the effect “motorcycle guy really enjoys playing with the toy blocks and building things, he should be encouraged to keep this up however he is slow to tie his shoes and get his jacket from the cloak room at the end of our day”. A corollary to “All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten” is that our kindergarten teachers may well have the best insight into how we will all turn out. I'm pretty old now and still playing with building things….and for sure have a reputation for taking too long to get my gear together when heading out for a few days in the bush. Lets track down Harper, Oliver and any one of the current BC Lib's kindergarten teachers to see what they thought. Somewhere along the line these people lost all integrity and respect for our province/country and the people who make it up. When did it start? We better throw in research on most of our “professional” local journalists as well. Or, were some kindergarten teachers better than others and get us going on a balanced path?


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