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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 sandpile at Sunday School.

These are the things I learned...

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, written in 1989, is the first book in a series of anecdotal writings by Robert Fulghum. It includes sound advice like "don't hit people" and "flush." It also includes stories that make you laugh, cry, love, live and learn. The kindergarten credo sets the tone of the book and has become a mantra for many kids at heart. It's now a household phrase--why, you can find plenty of spin-offs right here in our everything! Kindergarten was the first Fulghum book I ever picked up, and it will always be my favorite.

Live a balanced life. Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

There's a chapter where he describes what happens when his next-door neighbor walks into a spider's web on her way to being busy at work. Something about the way he writes a story makes you laugh out loud, even if you're not the type. It helps you to celebrate life, even if you don't usually feel like living it. This book has brought me out of depression more than once. I guess that's why bookstores put it in the self-help section.

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.

Fulghum is a minister, and a kindergarten teacher, a cowboy, and fifty other professions that I wish I could be and respect him for doing and love hearing about. His books make you feel at home, like he's sitting at your kitchen table telling you all about it. Like he's your grandpa. He's everyone's grandpa. So when he tells you in this book that the best way to stop war is to give everyone Crayolas, because no one can be unhappy with a fresh box of crayons, you believe him. You believe him because he's genuine and because he remembers and because he helps you remember, too.

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 of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if all the whole world had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had 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 into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

The entire book isn't about kindergarten, and it's not at all about chicken soup. It is about the simple things in life, like laundry and the abacus and marriage and childhood and yelling and country-fried steak. You need this book.

Excerpts came straight from my copy, which is dog-eared and loved.

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