You ever had that dream where you’re standing naked and unprepared in front of your third hour English class back in high school.
Not only are you stripped down to the bone, you were supposed to have a speech ready to present to the class, so obviously you’ve forgotten more than just your clothes on this fine day. Now for some people standing naked in front of a room full of classmates would be their biggest fear, but for others, clothes or no clothes, giving a speech would stop them dead in their tracks.
No matter how old we are, we all suffer from these anxiety dreams, and most of them have to deal with episodes we experienced back in school. My personal favorite is where I’m roaming my college campus looking for a classroom in a building I’ve never been in to take a final exam in a class I skipped attending for the entire semester.
This is the time of year when everyone starts thinking about going back to school. It’s unavoidable. My wife is a school teacher, and just as the stress nightmares have subsided for another summer, her sleep becomes more restless with the thought of another year looming ahead.
Television won’t let you escape the massive marketing bonanza that is back-to-school sales season. God forbid you’d show up in just any discount store jeans and tennis shoes.
But whether you’re the one headed back to school, or the parent of youngsters getting ready for another go-around in the blackboard jungle, there are certain rules to live by. Interestingly, many of the rules you learn growing up getting ready to go to school carry over in your adult working life. Perhaps Robert L. Fulghum was right when he penned, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”
I’ve seen the rules for getting along in school and work written many different ways over the past few years — thank you, Internet — but never as succinctly as Fulghum distilled things. “Wisdom,” Fulghum wrote, “was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sand pile at Sunday School.”
Yes, the most lasting lessons did come from those days rolling around in the sand pile. So as you get ready to go back to school or to go and earn a living, keep a few of Fulghum’s basic rules in mind and you’re sure to be a success:
1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don’t hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
5. Clean up your own mess.
6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours
7. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Flush. How easy things become when you break them down to their simplest form. Be kind to others and put your darn stuff away when you’re done. How complicated we tend to make things as we grow older and supposedly wiser?
I guess my additions to this list would be listen, learn and don’t overcomplicate things. As students, employees and individuals, if we listen and learn from those around us we will continue to grow as human beings. If we shut down the process of learning, we will stagnate and stop growing.
So as we head back to school and work this fall, remember to put on your clothes, write your speeches on time, and be nice to the world around you. Go to class at least often enough to know what building your class is in before the final rolls around.
And lastly, if all else fails, warm cookies and milk are always the answer – always.
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