Joe Wilson’s and Kanye West’s recent outbursts make me think of the things I learned in Kindergarten. I know it was a long time ago, but I don’t think the curriculum has changed that much. My own children attended much more recently. Even though Ron and I read and sang and talked to our children from the time they were little fetusus (No — I’m not kidding. We did!), when they each reached school age we tearfully (okay – that was just me) enrolled them in one of the local schools. They seemed so small during those first days, but we felt it was a good experience. They were going to have the opportunity to learn some more important stuff — like how symbols come together to form meaning, and how some things are alike and some different. And they began to learn how to get along with other children who might be different than them.
Kindergarten reinforced some of the lessons we taught at home. They learned that just because someone doesn’t agree with you doesn’t make them your enemy. That it’s not polite to interrupt others when they are speaking. That even if you don’t like what someone else does it is not okay to hit them or call them names or throw blocks at them. If little Johnny is playing with all the puzzles and you don’t think it’s fair, you should still try to work it out or find someone who can help. These were good lessons. And while Sara and Simeon eventually learned to read and count and even speak Spanish and a little Japanese, I think it was those earliest lessons that may best serve them as they move into adulthood.
Maybe some of the adults I see on television never went to Kindergarten. Too bad. I know a few well educated five year olds who could teach them a thing or two.
(The chair is entitled “Scream My Head Off.” I finished this piece in 2004.)
I found myself thinking about Gullah Gullah Island today and I had to look up Ron and Miss Natalie. GullahGullah.com linked to your blog, and it seems to be the most recently updated page, so I just thought I would leave a note. Good to read that your marriage and lives are still going strong.
As for your blog post, I totally agree. Sometimes it’s the simplest lessons that make all the difference. Kanye also would’ve benefitted from some patience too, as Beyonce’s video received what might be considered a higher honor than what he had outburst over. Tsk tsk.
I guess that’s another important lesson — patience. Sometimes if we just wait to respond we’ll find that our first impulse wasn’t the best one. That’s a lesson I still need to remember sometimes! Thanks for your note. Yeah, we’re still going strong…day by day!
Your post reminds me of the book “All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”. 🙂
Bad manners and common courtesy are exactly what both Kanye and Joe are lacking.
Nan, I continue to be amazed when I see grown ups acting out in ways that we would never allow our children to behave! All I know to do is to try to model and teach positive behavior and hope our children will do better than we seem to be doing. Yeah — we learned some pretty good stuff in Kindergarten!
I loved your show when i was little! I am 16 now.
Thank you! You and Sim are now the same age.
AMEN to your post! There are so many channels on TV designed for toddlers, preschoolers and pre-teens to teach them about manners, respect and simple life lessons. I’ve been thinking for a long time that a channel should be developed to teach these so-called role models out kids are exposed to, so they can learn the simple but important things in life that unfortunately some were not taught as children.
This is why I’m so happy that my children are experiencing Gullah Gullah Island. What mommy and daddy are teaching them is being reinforced by your show.
Thanks Carolyn. It’s good when we can find support for the values we teach our children. I find that I’ve spent a lot of time saying, “See what he/she did? Don’t do that!” Ah well, it’s still a teaching moment…
This is a great site, I love the theme you are using. I Stumbled it for you and bookmarked it on Digg.
Thanks! My computer has crashed so I haven’t kept up recently — but I’m shopping for a good macbook pro!