Robert Fulghum said, “All I need to know, I learned in kindergarten.” Now that I’ve been teaching in the first grade for 3 months, I think I could say the same thing. People should just go back to elementary school and learn how to behave.
The life lessons from first grade are as follows:
1. Wait for your turn. You can’t always be the line leader.
2. Do your work before you play. Then both will be more satisfying, and you won’t run out of time.
3. Think before you speak. You might get yourself into trouble.
4. Don’t laugh at people, talk about them, or snub them. It really does hurt their feelings, and you still won’t get more friends.
5. Say you’re sorry when you do something wrong. People want to forgive you.
6. A pat on the back or an unnecessary band-aid heal even the biggest hurt.
7. Don’t have a potty-mouth. You really won’t impress anyone with bad language, but you will reveal your insecurities.
8. Don’t tattle. What you’re doing is malicious and conniving. The person you’re tattling on may just be ignorant.
9. Practice your math and reading. You really will use it for the rest of your life.
10. Say your pledges and your prayers. During your lifetime, you will demonstrate allegiance to something; it might as well be God and country.
11. Brush your teeth, brush your hair, and take a bath every day. People can smell you when you don’t.
12. Eat your healthy food first, then dessert.
13. Stay away from the mean kids. They are mean to their friends, as well as their enemies.
14. Clean up after yourself. Think about the person coming behind you.
15. Talk about your dreams. Dare to believe that you can be a super-hero.
16. Share your pencils and erasers. Generosity breeds friendship and trust.
17. Say “please” and “thank you,” “yes, ma’am” and “no, ma’am.” You will stand out in a crowd.
18. Anticipate the miraculous. Sometimes wonderful things happen for no apparent reason, other than fairies at work.
19. Pay attention to penmanship. It’s a lost art. And so is patience and perseverance.
20. Follow directions. They really do matter.
21. Enjoy art and music and nature. The beauty surrounding you gives depth and meaning to the human experience.
22. Don’t interrupt. Your story can wait.
23. Use a tissue. Sneeze into your sleeve. Courtesy is always necessary, even when you don’t feel well.
24. Play hard and risk the bruises. You won’t win anything worthwhile until you’ve sweat for it.
25. Crave knowledge. Ask questions. Figure it out. Life is a giant box of Legos. You can make anything out of it, but if you don’t open the box, you will miss the entire experience.