Friday, November 13, 2015

“All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten"

By Mental Wellness Services Manager, Griselda Williams

Most of us have heard the poem by Robert Fulghum. In his poem he shares how we learn life skills early in life.  In Kindergarten we learn to take turns, have respect for others and their property, how to play fair and how to care for our bodies with nutrition and hygiene.

I was not allowed to attend Kindergarten as I was raised in rural Missouri during the time of the civil rights movement and discrimination kept me from attending school until the first grade. I did however have a strong, supportive, resilient family and extended family that made sure I learned these skills for life.  I was fortunate as a child to have been taught these skills because occasionally I see a parent or two here at Community LINC who was not taught these life skills.

Often in our parent groups we discuss topics like discipline, child development and we even discuss the parent as a role model for their child. These conversations make me realize that some of our parents weren’t shown or taught these skills but are now trying to learn these skills. This is truly exciting because even though they may not have been given these skills, most want them for their children. One parent shared the challenges she experienced as a result of not being given such skills, because she was not taught how to “hold hands and stick together”. Instead, in her family, she was often hit and screamed at and her family did not work together as a team. Another parent asked questions about how to teach his children to play nicely with one another as the two older children often bullied the younger sibling.

Those that ask these questions are often the families that grow in their awareness of life skills in the four months they reside here at Community LINC. When we see these things as staff, it continues to inspire us because we can be instrumental in assisting some of our parents with learning what others did in Kindergarten and they in turn can pass them on to the next generation.

 “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten"
By Robert Fulghum

Most of what 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 Sunday 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 into the world
Watch out for traffic
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.