I have been thinking lately about manners and morals. In the classroom I subbed in this morning, they had a poster "All I really need to know, I learned in Kindergarten", by Robert Fulghum. I post it here in its entirety for your perusal.
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 sand pile at 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.
* 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 in 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 one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things 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 in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.
I also work at a major retail store in the evenings. My specific job includes helping customers in the toy and sporting goods section, and in keeping those areas neat and clean. My main difficulty in doing this comes from people who never learned those Kindergarten lessons, or for that matter, ANY lessons in basic manners. These people think that our section of the store is a babysitting service for them while they shop. One mother brought her three kids into the toy aisles saying, "Have fun, I'm going to go shop. I'll be back in a while." She left, and leaving left her three kids ages six and down, alone in the toys. They proceeded to destroy two hours worth of work by playing with, or just throwing on the floor, toys from every aisle there. Now lest you think only young kids do this, perhaps I should just mention the parents.
Many of these upstanding citizens, who probably consider themselves to be decent, upstanding people, feel no qualms about throwing something that they have decided not to buy on the nearest shelf, regardless of what it is, or where they are in the store. I have found melted ice cream, spoiled meat, gallons of warm milk, fresh vegetables, and many more thrown to the back of the shelves in random areas of the store. Then there are those who in spite of our low prices, think they cannot afford to pay for what they want, so we find empty packages also thrown to the back of those shelves. Some of these items only cost a dollar, or two. We have caught people trying to steal a five dollar item when their basket is filled with three hundred dollars of items they have already paid for.
I'll stop my rant, for now anyway. We need to teach more Kindergarten lessons, and more people need to learn them well.
Keep smiling. Stick.