|Me in first grade, when I was much more mature.|
I'm not sure what's all over this photo. Chocolate?
So it was back to school today for millions of kids across the United States. Remember your first day of school? I think I’ve blocked my memories of that event – as I don’t recall getting to my new classroom, or meeting my young colleagues, or opening up my first pack of crayons or new pencils. I’m not even sure of my teacher’s name. Mrs. Walden? Walton? My only memory of that day was the crying fit I had as my Mom walked me to the bus stop at the corner. It must have looked pretty pathetic: me sobbing crouched down on the sidewalk, and pulling at my mom’s arm. I remember being scared of the “big kids” on my bus and maybe fearful of abandoning the comfortable routine of spending the bulk of my time at home for the previous five years.
Like most of the time in the "real world", it turned out that my fears were unfounded. The “big kids” on the bus never gave me a second glance, and I remember learning to love kindergarten: the milk and cookies (Oreos) break that we took every afternoon, nap time, the special cubby hole on the wall, labeled with my name, where I stored all of my stuff, play time, and all of the fun art projects we worked on. In particular, I remember proudly bringing home a paper cut-out of an Eskimo boy, tall as me, that we had cut out, colored, and taped together.
As author Robert Fulghum wrote, some of the most important life lessons he learned were from his year in kindergarten. And revisiting his famous list, who could disagree? Share everything, play fair, don't hit people, put things back where you found them, clean up your own mess, say you're sorry when you hurt somebody, and take a nap every afternoon. Oh, and don't be such a wuss -- those big kids on the bus won't even notice you.