” Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” 

“It doesn’t matter what you say you believe – it only matters what you do.” 

―    Robert Fulghum

Sitting about idly this morning, I had one of those 10-second thought-strings that sort  of went like this:

kris kringleI’m bored… I’ll watch TV. Oh look, an advertisement for “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”…”You better not cry. you better not pout.”… That’s right kids, you better behave or you’ll get coal for Christmas…

Hey wait a minute, kids are actually pretty good, I mean they learn good life skills at an early age and are usually pretty good at following them.

…..What? Is that really Brad Pitt doing a Chanel perfume commercial?…Seriously Brad….

Wait, what was I thinking about before?  Ummmm….Santa…manners.. Right.  You know, most kids behave well. The rest….well I guess they behave exactly the way we allow them too. What about us adults, do we only behave well at Christmas, too? What about the rest of the year ? Do we need to remember our manners, too?

Amazing aren’t they, those 10-second thought threads?

And then I went on to think about Sunday NFL games,  whether I should or shouldn’t go to the gym , and then ending up with the inevitable…”I’m hungry, I should eat.” So I made a sandwichsandwich.

And later, after I put away the sandwich things,  I thought about the behaviour thing again, and remembered that a few weeks ago I had rediscovered a list in my hard drive as I was cleaning up a few things on my computer (…and I was not deleting the cache history,  gentlemen!).  It is a list produced by Robert Fulghum (website ,http://www.robertfulghum.com/ ) author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.  It is a favorite theme of mine (as you know) and I also believe that when we were young, we learned every life and social skill we would ever need for our entire lives – pretty much. Some would say it is too simple. Perhaps. But it is a really good start.

Learned in Kindergareten

The following, a bit of Fulghum’s  list, is right from the days when we wiped our noses on our sleeves. played in the sandbox and complained about nap time…

  • Share everything. (Could use some of that in the Middle East, or Southwest Asia, or Canada for that matter…)
  • Play fair. (Ahem…Cartels, Organisations, Oligopolies…aspiring politicians…take note)
  • Don’t hit people. (How many people and countries need to remember one…)
  • Put things back where you found them.
  • Clean up your own mess. (Environmentalists love this one…)
  • Don’t take things that aren’t yours.  (Wow…remembering this one would save a lot of grief)
  • Say you’re sorry when you  hurt somebody. (Simple, practical and useful advice that never goes wrong….)
  • Wash your hands before you eat. (Trust me on this one…the Norwalk virus is unforgiving)
  • When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together. (All for one, one for all…not “me, me, me”)
  • Flush. (..and don’t forget a courtesy flush once in a while…)
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. (at least mentally…if not waistline-ly)

That is simply the first slice of the advice – it deals more with protecting and respecting others alongside yourself.  But as Fulghum pointed out, we learned more…

What follows are the observations we made when we were younger – but I guess we only really start to appreciate them as we hit middle-aged (honestly, you never think about them when you are young and invincible…).   As Fulghum writes,

naptime  – 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.

– Take a nap every afternoon

– Live a balanced life – learn some, and think some, and work some, and draw and paint and sing and dance and play every day some

Not much more to add, I guess. And while it is not the answer 42, and  it did not need a trip up the mountain to ask a Yogi for his advice – I believe that list can help us with how we  treat each other and unlock a lot of mysteries..

So while we get ready for Christmas, and remind our kids that whether awake or asleep, someone is ALWAYS watching (which is kinda creepy..) – don’t forget to dot your own i’s and cross your own t’s…’coz in about three weeks, Santa Claus is coming to town.  And he is making a list.

As for my part, as I head to parties, and  spend time with a host of others, I will take advantage of the time of year when I rekindle my pre-Christmas excitement like a pre-schooler.  I will do my annual review of the Kindergarten list and see if I can do anything better…I am sure I can.

Gotta go…Time to see what Kris Kringle is up to…