Lessons learned in kindergarten still apply in college

I think EMU orientation should include mandatory review of the basic lessons or life rules we all learned in kindergarten (if we attended kindergarten in this country). Since there are plenty of international students that did not live here when they were five years old and, since some of us haven’t been in kindergarten in more years than we care to count, review of these rules should be mandatory for all students (especially commuter students) upon entry to EMU. That will ensure everyone knows the behavior expected of them (even in the parking lots).

According to Robert Fulghum, who wrote the 1980s best-selling book “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” these are the basic life rules we all learned in school:

1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don't hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
6. Don't take things that aren't yours.
7. Say you're SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
9. Flush.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
11. Live a balanced life - learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
12. Take a nap every afternoon.
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
14. 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.
15. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.

(For a complete list, go to https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/2399046-all-i-really-need-to-know-i-learned-in-kindergarten)

I would add one very important rule that I feel should probably be at the top of the list – take turns. This could be lumped into No. 1, “Share everything,” but I think it is important enough to warrant its own place at the top of the list.

Based upon my experiences in the commuter parking lots since I began attending EMU, many students never learned this concept. Either that, or they are deliberately not nice people. For those of you who fall into the latter group, I have another quote from Fulghum’s book for you: “Every person passing through this life will unknowingly leave something and take something away. Most of this ‘something’ cannot be seen or heard or numbered or scientifically detected or counted. It’s what we leave in the minds of other people and what they leave in ours. Memory. The census doesn’t count it. Nothing counts without it.”

I will get over it when you cut in front of me after I have been waiting in the parking lot for 20 minutes for a parking spot to open up. Eventually, after my blood pressure goes back down to normal, I will have forgotten all about you. But you know who you are and you have to live with yourself for the rest of your life. Be nice. It’s easy and you’ll feel good about yourself when you are. And remember to watch what you say to people who get mad at you for cutting. After all, “Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will break our spirits.”


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