Sunday Thought For The Day

by Lance Ekum on · 49 comments

Creative Commons License photo credit: Groovnick

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

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:

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. 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.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you
learned–the biggest word of all–LOOK.

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 one 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 we 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 as 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.

~ Robert Fulghum

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Darren Sproat May 30, 2010 at 1:26 am

It’s so true…
I remember one of the first things I told my daughter when I dropped her off on her first day of school… “Be helpful, not hurtful.” It is something that has stuck with her from that day and, looking at the list above, could apply to just about every item. Great thought, Lance, and a great photo to go with it.
Have a wonderful week,
.-= Darren Sproat´s Last Fabulous Post ..Wait a sec… it was almost perfect! =-.


SnaggleTooth May 30, 2010 at 1:55 am

Great observation that of all we learn in life, we do know the most important things very early.
Have a good week-end!
.-= SnaggleTooth´s Last Fabulous Post ..Poem =-.


Chania Girl May 30, 2010 at 2:11 am

I used to have this book (actually, I had quite a few of Fulghum’s books), but this *THIS* I always loved above all. Thank you for posting this so that I could enjoy its simple joy and affirmation again. Lovely Sunday post. x
.-= Chania Girl´s Last Fabulous Post ..On The Bright Side, I May Be Moving to Oz =-.


Michelle @ Eatingjourney May 30, 2010 at 2:30 am

The innocence of children is one of the most beautiful things in the world. Why we don’t strive to live in their uncomplicated world is beyond me.



Mindful Mimi May 30, 2010 at 3:25 am

Hiya Lance,
What a great thought again you share with us today.
I love the ‘balanced life’ one especially, as it’s a bit tough with small kids to find a healthy equilibrium. Then again, they do provide me with a free laughing, singing and dancing interlude so I don’t have to work on that 🙂
Again, it all comes down to really simple things, doesn’t it? We adults tend to make life so complicated. We should just stick to the basics – and no that would not mean that we’d still be living in caves…
Thanks Lance for this. Happy Sunday.
.-= Mindful Mimi´s Last Fabulous Post ..Your birthday is a special time to celebrate the gift of ‘you’ to the world. =-.


Jeanne May 30, 2010 at 3:39 am

I love all you share


MizFit May 30, 2010 at 5:18 am


every time my daughter slips her little hand in mind as we walk out of the house I try my HARDEST to imprint that amazing feeling on my brain.


Lance May 30, 2010 at 5:25 am

@Darren – Hi Darren. That’s a great message you’ve shared with your daughter, and it really does fit so well with all of the above. It’s a choice we have…how we will treat others….

@SnaggleTooth – Hi Snaggle! We really do learn a lot early on in life…especially about those things that really matter in how we interact with others. Happy Sunday!

@Chania Girl – Hey Carla! I’ve always loved this too, perhaps because of the simplicity of it, and how it reminds me that we really do learn a lot about human interaction early on in life. (…now, can we remember to always use this in adult life??)

@Michelle – Hi Mish! Ahh…so true! Children really see the world through much more innocence and trusting. And just think if we were all just a bit more like that…how wonderful that would be!

@Mimi – Hi Miranda!! And isn’t that fun what little kids bring out in us! I’m thinking of YOU…dancing…right now!! (and it brings a great big smile to my face!!) We definitely tend to over-complicate things…and does it really get us anywhere?? The basics (minus that cave!) sound like a great way to go! Happy Sunday to you, dear friend! Have fun with those kiddos of yours!

@Jeanne – Thanks a bunch Jeanne!!

@MizFit – Hey Miz!! Holding the hand of a child…that’s a very special thing. Savor those moments…


Trish @IamSucceeding May 30, 2010 at 5:33 am

Awe..I loved this and totally agree…with it all! Have an awesome day Lance and thanks for sharing this.


Jarrod - Cultivating Heroes May 30, 2010 at 5:37 am

It is truly amazing what gets imprinted into our brains when we are in our younger years.

It makes the task of parenting seem all the more important. I can recall specific memories from my childhood and see exactly why I never wanted to drink alcohol.

Truly the best way to give our children and the world the best beliefs is to live out their embodiment.


HappinessandWisdom May 30, 2010 at 6:04 am

I especially liked the advice ‘be aware of wonder’ and “live a balanced life,’ as these are such an important part of being happy. Unfortunately, these are quickly forgotten as we age and we take the world around us for granted or we don’t take the time to see it, because we’re busy doing ‘important’ things. Thanks for the reminder!
.-= HappinessandWisdom´s Last Fabulous Post ..Happiness about life’s experiences =-.


Natalia May 30, 2010 at 6:14 am

Hey Lance,

This is so true. My son and I go over the golden rule a lot! 🙂 I think the only thing I would add is: Give people the benefit of the doubt! We’re working on that one too!

Have a great weekend!


Lance May 30, 2010 at 6:39 am

@Trish – Hi Trish! It’s great “life” stuff here…from our early school years. Great to see you here today…enjoy all that this day brings for YOU!!

@Jarrod – Hi Jarrod. At a young age…we are very impressionable. And that’s really by the actions we see. I give teacheers a lot of credit…for really living what they teach. So important. And really -for parents even more so – how we help to shape our children’s lives…

@HappinessandWisdom – What a great thought. Yes, it’s all too easy for us to get wrapped up in what we think is so “important”, and completely miss the wonder that is all around us.

@Natalia – Hi Natalia!! The golden rule really is pretty golden!! And I love your addition – we just never know what road has brought other people to where they are today (and that could have been a very difficult road…). Happy Sunday to you and your family!


Jannie Funster May 30, 2010 at 6:40 am

I’m all for the afternoon cookies, milk and nap! Especially the nap.

I’d heard parts of this before, but never the whole thing. Cute. And awesome!

.-= Jannie Funster´s Last Fabulous Post ..Graduation Angel =-.


Jules - Big Girl Bombshell May 30, 2010 at 6:48 am

I am in the current phase of the with the seeds in Styrofoam DOES take me back to the innocence and joy of watching these miracles occur every single day!

Kids are our BIGGEST teachers but we often step in and give them all our adult fears and supposed wisdom instead of the other way around!

THANK YOU for this WONDER-FULL reminder~
.-= Jules – Big Girl Bombshell´s Last Fabulous Post ..What does Your DASH look like? =-.


Katie West/The Levity Coach May 30, 2010 at 6:52 am

Wow….I had forgotten how much I liked that list. I remember hearing it when it first came out and I was at a formative age and I can recall thinking…..”Note to self…this list is right on”

And so it is many years later. And I wonder now how much the original hearing of this list actually influenced my work and life today.

Lance…..Can’t you see The Levity Project handing out cookies and milk in a big downtown…..or staging a nap in?

Sweet…rock on dear friend…it is good to be back.


Evita May 30, 2010 at 10:36 am

Aw, that is so cute Lance.

Very warm and love-filled message that can truly be applied at all ages. Thank you for sharing.
.-= Evita´s Last Fabulous Post ..Our Spiritual and Global Eating Priorities =-.


Jody - Fit at 52 May 30, 2010 at 10:43 am

Is there anything else to say……………….. great post Lance!
.-= Jody – Fit at 52´s Last Fabulous Post ..Sunday Thoughts About Life =-.


Jeanne Hart May 30, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Hi Lance, This is just beautiful…we should all look at the world through a child’s eyes. Wonderful post today. You are the BEST!!!


J.D. Meier May 30, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I love the density of wisdom packed into such a small set of prose.
.-= J.D. Meier´s Last Fabulous Post ..Lessons Learned from John Maxwell =-.


Vincent Nguyen May 30, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Hi Lance

Lots of great life tidbits for us to ponder on 🙂

My favourite is

“And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you
learned–the biggest word of all–LOOK.”

And as we grow up to “sophisticated” adults…we tend to get caught up in our own rat race of life and then
1)we forget to take the time
2)we are too busy
3)we are just too jaded

to take the time and just “LOOK” for the beauty in everything.

Have a great Sunday everyone.
.-= Vincent Nguyen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Lost Generation =-.


JoyChristin May 30, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Oops, sorry!!! In between work shifts…this weekend has been quite busy at the hospital…..
*It* truly is as simple as that!!! “It” being the living of life. return to child-like innocence and wonder by letting your heart lead and remaining open to the wonder and delight sprinkled throughout the day. I love the simplicity and effortlessness of the kindergarten rules…thank you for sharing:)
And if the Levity Project decides to hand out milk and cookies or host a massive nap in I am so there to help!!!


Lance May 30, 2010 at 9:03 pm

@Jannie – Jannie!! Guess what?? I DID exactly that today – the nap!! Ohhh…it felt GOOD!! My wife claims that “40 is the new 10”. So…I think that gives me free reign to act 10! (or maybe even 5!) Woo-Hooo!!!! xoxoxo

@Jules – Big Girl Bombshell — Hey Jules!! You know, that’s such a great point. It’s easy for us (me) to jump in and tell our (my) kids something that might only just hold them back from their dreams. Maybe the best thing we can give them is wings….wings to fly with their dreams! Thank you so much for this thought today!

@Katie – Hi Katie!! Handing out milk and cookies…I like it! Although (and maybe this is a sad thought), I wonder how many people would be uneasy taking milk and cookies from a stranger. (I’m not really calling you strange or anything…) Really, though, lots of wonderful wisdom contained in these words…words that definitely ring trul to the life of a kindergartner. (and it is GREAT to see your smiling face here today!!)

@Evita – Hi Evita! The picture really is cute! And it is a message that fits exactly what IS learned in kindergarten…and still…applies to each of us today, too.

@Jody – Hey Jody!! Thank YOU!!!! (for everything!)

@Jeanne Hart – Hi Jeanne! Children (especially young children) just look at everything in the world with such wonder. What a gift when we let even just some of that stay with us!! Jeanne, thank you so much. You are a beautiful soul…

@J.D. Meier – Robert Fulghum really does pack a whole ton of great wisdom into this one! Awesome stuff!!

@Vincent – Hi Vincent!! It’s all around us…so much beauty! (what a great point you make!) And how often do we miss it all because we’re so busy doing something we think is “so” important… Great thought!!

@JoyChristin – Hi Joy!! (ha!!!) It’s great having you here, whatever name you go by!!!! I love that word “sprinkle”!! I love when you sprinkle your deeply caring thoughts here! Joy, I just see your heart in everything you share…and that really is such a big part of this…that listening to our heart…. Thank you so much for all of this… Now, about the serving of the cookies and milk…we should talk!!!!


Jodi at Joy Discovered May 30, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Hi Lance! I love this poem. My son is “graduating” from kindergarten in a couple of weeks and his class will be performing this for all the parents. I’m sure there won’t be a dry eye in the house! I have always thought this poem makes sense–but it wasn’t until I actually had kids of my own that I realized how true the words really are. I have learned so many lessons, over and over again, from seeing life through my children’s eyes. I am reminded that life is simple, that life is all about love and wonder and joy, and most of all, that it is meant to be experienced with innocent eyes, no matter what else might be happening. Thank you for posting this! I hope all is wonderful with you and your family! ~Jodi


Angelia Sims May 30, 2010 at 10:22 pm

What an adorable photo! Molly is in kindergarten and I love the friendships they form. The heartfelt way they do not hesitate to throw their arms around one another for a hug. The light in their eyes of pure excitement over the smallest thing. What a wonder. Here’s hoping we all grasp and use a little of this childhood magic today and always.

Happy Memorial Day, Lance!
.-= Angelia Sims´s Last Fabulous Post ..Fear and Loathing at my Duplex =-.


Walter May 30, 2010 at 10:56 pm

It’s unfortunate that as we grow up our minds become corrupted by the system. Only through awareness can we regain the purity from which we once originate. 🙂


Trinity MacRae May 30, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Thx for reminding me of this piece, which I have always loved. In addition to being a Mum (and very involved in parenting) I am also in recovery… I’ve thought about adopting this idea to that process and calling it “All I really need to know I learned in the 12 Steps”! Thanks again for sharing, not even sure how I sumbled across this – but I sure have found some great people to follow and share with by doing so! 🙂


Rayna May 31, 2010 at 12:21 am

So true.
When I am in a wistful mood, all I wish for is that my two boys remain exactly the same kind of people when they are in their 20s and later as they are at 6 & 4.

And a wonderful photograph to accompany such a lovely post.


Hilary May 31, 2010 at 3:40 am

Hi Lance .. I saw Flush & thought “what?” .. red face .. suffering sweats .. no way in this list .. – then you say later on ..convert to your adult life & it fits!!!

Children and innocence .. where we could play, we could sleep .. we were fed well .. life of bliss – and despite all of this we were constantly learning, absorbing, putting into practice .. we should do more to remember our early years.

Enjoy the Memorial Day .. have fun .. Hilary
.-= Hilary´s Last Fabulous Post ..Stirling Castle Skeletons – who are they? =-.


Lance May 31, 2010 at 7:29 am

@Jodi – Hi Jodi!! Oh wow…this really must have a lot of meaning for you – with your son just finishing kindergarten now!! Let the tears out at that performance…it will be beautiful! And yes – as a parent – I see this differently too – having seen my kids go through kindergarten – and how they viewed life at that time. Kids are such great teachers, without even knowing it. And I just love the thought of life through the eyes of innocence – what a wonderful, wonderful thought! Jodi, it’s sooo good to see you here today! Savor all the moments with your beautiful family!

@Angelia – Hi Angelia!! Ahhh…to have a kindergartner again!! And it’s that wonder that I think is so magical…how everything seems new! That’s something I want to hold more deeply within myself. Angelia, enjoy all the moments you have with Molly…and with all of your precious family!! Happy Memorial Day!!

@Walter – Hi Walter!! Awareness is such a great thing. I attended a self awareness workshop this past fall, and it was by far the most moving workshop I’ve ever been to.

@Trinity – Hi Trinity!! It’s great to meet you! There is just so much wisdom contained within these words. And – I would love to see how you might write something along the lines of “All I really need to know I learned in the 12 Steps”. Looking forward to knowing you better…

@Rayna – Hi Rayna!! Each age brings something wonderful to be explored. There really is something, though, about those early and formative years – and the wonder that comes in those moments. Cherish your boys…always…

@Hilary – Hi Hilary!! Ha!! Ahh…that innocence. Something beautiful to see in children. And they shine that, and it’s so pure. You too…have a wonderful day today!


ClinicallyClueless May 31, 2010 at 8:36 am

Simply beautiful…if only we could keep it that way.
.-= ClinicallyClueless´s Last Fabulous Post ..Memorial Day Why?…Sacrifice =-.


Lori May 31, 2010 at 8:38 am

This is beautiful. When I watch my 6 year old meet a new child and they hit it off right away I always wonder at what age we lose this ability to just accept someone for what they are and play NICE.


Sagan May 31, 2010 at 2:15 pm

I’ve read that one before, and I love it- it’s true on so many levels. What we learn as a child sticks with us as we get older. And often, very small children REALLY know where it’s at in a way that many adults grow to forget.
.-= Sagan´s Last Fabulous Post ..Feeling like a fraud =-.


lisaschaos May 31, 2010 at 6:16 pm

It’s so true really! The basics were hopefully even learned earlier at home. But my husband has a book, All I ever needed to know I learned form my wife – it’s very funnY!
.-= lisaschaos´s Last Fabulous Post ..Frilly Macro Monday =-.


Lynn May 31, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Robert Fulghum is great and so are you, Lance.
.-= Lynn´s Last Fabulous Post ..R & R, Grace and reflection =-.


Sandra Hendricks May 31, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Robert Fulghum is an awesome author. His writing makes me laugh. “Uh-Oh Some Observations from Both Sides of the Refrigerator” is another one of his that I enjoyed.
.-= Sandra Hendricks´s Last Fabulous Post ..Imagine the Difference You Can Make =-.


Lance June 1, 2010 at 4:54 am

@Clinically Clueless – Ah, yes…if we could just continue with what we’ve learned in kindergarten…so true. – Hi Lori!! What a great observation! Kids that age just have a natural ability to meet others and live in the moment together. And seeing that is so awesome!! (keeping that same comfort level…).

@Sagan – Hi Sagan!! So as kids this stuff is either instinctual or what we truly do learn in those early years. Maybe we need a refresher course once we become adults!!!

@Lisa – Hi Lisa!! Ha!! So…why is it I somehow fear what might be in THAT book!!!

@Lynn – Lynn!! You are so super nice! See…you still have a lot of what you learned in kindergarten!! (and it puts a huge smile on MY face!). Big hugs to YOU!!!

@Sandra – Hi Sandra! Thanks for the book recommendation! What I love about Fulghum is how these are fun stories to read, and still pack a message that’s so, so true….


Colleen June 1, 2010 at 7:21 am

I’ve a few days late, but nevertheless, a great poem. I’ve read it before and I recommend this poem be placed front and center on everyone’s favorite wall! 🙂
.-= Colleen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Memorial Day Events Around the Mid Columbia =-.


FatFighterTV June 2, 2010 at 12:16 am

I have seen the first part of this several times, but I have never seen the entire thing, so thanks for posting it all. It is so awesome.


Caroline June 2, 2010 at 1:54 am

Important lessons for us grown ups! I remember reading his book…man, must have been 10 years ago! This lesson never goes out of style! Thanks for sharing 😉
.-= Caroline´s Last Fabulous Post ..Thoughts about love…. =-.


Karl Staib - Work Happy Now June 2, 2010 at 1:20 pm

What I took from this was to simplify our lives. We get too caught up in he said she said or money or other problems. We need to live by rules and don’t complicate our lives.

My favorite from the list: Be aware of wonder.

I’ve been paying particular attention to the flowers this past spring. They are so beautiful and unique. It’s a little gift from God everywhere I walk.


Barbara Swafford June 2, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Hi Lance,

This reminds me of how different things can be if we were to go back to the time when days were more simple and we’re not jaded by what life delivers.

You know what I love about your Sunday thoughts, Lance? I can read them any day of the week and they still apply. 🙂

Hope you’re having a great day and week.
.-= Barbara Swafford´s Last Fabulous Post ..Can Life Be Better Online? =-.


Lance June 2, 2010 at 4:39 pm

@Colleen – Hi Colleen!! It’s great having you here whenever you can make it! And you’re absolutely right – this is something that is so worth seeing over and over! (and letting it really sink in!)

@FatFighterTV – Hi Sahar!! It really is SO good! There’s a lot of wisdom learned in that kindergarten room!

@Caroline – Hi Caroline!! Right! Why is it we forget some of this stuff as we get older?? Maybe if we all took a refresher kindergarten course (that sounds pretty fun, actually!!)…

@Karl – Hi Karl!! Wonder!! It’s pretty sweet, isn’t it! Just think – if we looked at everything through the eyes of wonder – how different the world would look (and different in a very GREAT way). Flowers are a perfect example. It’s so easy to walk by some of these, maybe some you see everyday – and forget just how amazing it is that they are growing!! A gift from God…no doubt!

@Barbara – Hi Barbara!! Hey, maybe they should be called “Anyday Thoughts”!!! And – to the idea of simplicity…there is definitely something to that – and to how when we live more simply – we really do seem to appreciate more of the beauty around us… Thanks Barbara, your thoughts are always so good!! Have a wonderful rest of your week!


Rocky | R O C K O N O V A.COM June 2, 2010 at 9:41 pm

isn’t it awesome that simple things are usually the best things ??!!

naps are the best !
.-= Rocky | R O C K O N O V A.COM´s Last Fabulous Post ..3 Reasons Why You Should Teach What You Learn =-.


Jingle June 4, 2010 at 5:54 am

love the posts on top..
Happy Friday!
.-= Jingle´s Last Fabulous Post ..Alphabe-Thursday: T Is For Temptation =-.


Lance June 5, 2010 at 5:32 am

@Rocky – Hi Rocky!! Naps definitely rock!! In fact…I think I’ll plan for one later today!!!

@Jingle – Thanks Jingle!!! Happy Saturday!!


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