I have owned All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things for about 10 years now. I have read it many times, yet each time I read it I find myself saying "So, that's what he meant."
Author Robert Fulghum shares with us his feelings that some of the most important things he ever learned just happened to be the things he was taught in kindergarten.
Some of the rules Mr.Fulghum talks about in All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things are: share everything, 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, flush, warm cookies and milk are good for you, take a nap every afternoon, live a balanced life, learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work some every day.
Fulghum wonders how our lives would be affected; what a better place our world would be if everyone where to apply these rules to their adult life. "Think what a better world it would be if we all-the whole world had milk and cookies about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap?"
This book spells out in a simple way what dozens of other books try to complicate. That life is life, we can't change the past, we can only try harder for the future that we only have one life to live, so try to do it right the first time. However, if you do mess up today, that's okay too, because there is tomorrow. You know, stop and smell the roses, before they fade away.
This book is an easy read, with only 196 pages you can take in the entire book in just a few short hours. However I recommend reading the book more than once in order to really absorb what this man is saying. Although everything is simple and plainly put, most people cannot accept that life can be this cut and dried. So, read it a few times before passing final judgment.
Not originally written as a book, the ideas and stories shared in this book where written over the authors life time. Notes and letters addressed to friends and family, those were later compiled to create this book. There are no titles, no headings for each part of the book, just a few pages that tell of a story or a remembrance along with the authors thoughts about it, and that's it.
The book opens with some words to the reader from the author, included in this note is something he calls the Storyteller's Creed. I enjoyed this creed so much and found it to be quite true, so here it is for you to enjoy.
The Storyteller's Creed:
I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge.
That myth is more potent than history.
That dreams are more powerful than facts.
That hope always triumphs over experience.
That laughter is the only cure for grief.
And I believe that love is stronger than death.
Robert Fulghum tells of some silly life experiences in this book that are funny and show you what type of person he is. For example he tells of liking static cling in socks, because he can then stick them all over his body and they will stay. And how his wife caught him doing this, and gave him THAT LOOK. Haven't we all been there? Busy singing, dancing or something more embarrassing when we all of a sudden realize we are being watched. The person watching says nothing; they just look at you and walk away. Man, have I been there! That is something to think about, that life experience does not have to be bad. I know people that think that because their life is harder, they are a better person, that unless something awful happens, it does not count.
Another life experience with a twist tells of the authors remembering some local children playing hide and go seek, all but one child had been found, and the other kids are about to give up. So after debating what he should do the author yells, GET FOUND, KID! out the window. The kid ran home crying. The author then tells of someone else that hid too well. A man dying of cancer that decided he would spare his friends and family the heartache, so he never told anyone. He kept it a secret from everyone, and died without ever saying goodbye. His friends and family were very hurt by his lack of faith in them, that he didn't need them. This segment he ends by telling us if you have ever thought, "I don't want anyone to know. What will people think? or, "I don't want to bother anyone." that you need to "Get Found, Kid!"
This book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things is full of life stories like these; far too many to cover in this review. I highly recommend this book to all from about age 12 on up. I think that teens will glean some information from these short stories that will make sense to them. My teenager enjoyed the book for its humor and honesty. She told me that reading this book was more like listening to her grandfather sitting on the front porch swing telling stories, and really enjoyed it. I think from a teenager in this era that's a pretty good recommendation.
One thing to ponder when reading this book is that everything you need to know you really did learn in kindergarten. Some of us we learned this lesson earlier than that; growing up with 6 brothers and sisters I had to learn to share at a very young age. Being nice to one another meant staying out of trouble. We always held hands when we went out, and telling each other that we loved them was an everyday occurrence. Unfortunately not every child is brought up this way, and this book is for them. I have given copies of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things to several friends, all of whom enjoyed it greatly.
Thank you for reading, ~ Cyndi ~
Other books written by Robert Fulghum
It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It
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