Kindergarten Lessons, 80’s Style
Oh, mercy, y’all. Can we just be real for a minute and have a conversation about the mess going on around us? And how a good bit of it could be avoided by learning some simple lessons taught in an old fashion 80’s kindergarten classroom? Although it has been a minute since I was in kindergarten, I still remember the fundamental teachings I learned and have carried that knowledge with me throughout my adolescent and adult life.
Some of the most valuable life skills I’ve learned—such as respect, creativity, empathy, hygiene, and problem solving—were cultivated in classroom learning centers. Those centers consisted of a puzzles and board games station, a kitchenette, a playdough area, a coloring book station, interactive tools to show you how to brush your teeth and tie your shoes, just to name a few. I learned how to socialize, how to take care of my body, how to share, how to use arts and crafts to express myself. To sum it up, those 80’s learning centers taught humanity. Today’s classroom learning centers consist of iPads and computers that teach students how to become standardized testing robots who lack social skills and empathy.
I think it’s important to put this out there before we continue—it’s okay that we don’t agree on everything, and you probably won’t agree with everything in my post. But what’s not okay is folks getting offended quicker than a toddler being denied candy when others don’t agree with them, and then pitching a fit similar to said toddler. Yet it seems to be an accepted trend to tear someone else down for their views. So if you have issues with being quickly offended and think you have a hall pass to tear others down in a blink of an eye, perhaps this kindergarten lesson plan isn’t for you and it’s best to stop reading now. My intension is to start a positive conversation and to hopefully bring awareness to our own actions. This is not a bashing session.
Lesson 1: Handwashing
Each time I have a lapse in judgement and turn on the news, only to get sucked into the bitter pandemonium, the only thing garnered is confusion and frustration. Just yesterday I turned on the weather channel with hopes of actually catching the forecast. Instead, I watched a segment on how to properly wash your hands. I was like, “Come again?” Y’all, that left me dumbfounded. I learned this nifty little lesson in my kindergarten classroom, where the teacher and her aid lined us up in a nice and orderly line at the sink and demonstrated proper handwashing. Then each one of us took turns washing our hands. After that, we performed this clever task each day after using the rest room and before lunch and snack time. Guess what? I’m a longtime hand-washing connoisseur! No further lessons from the weather channel needed!
Lesson 2: Common Sense
You ever hear someone say, So-and-so has a lot of book sense, but, bless his heart, he ain’t got a lick of common sense? It’s because we’ve quit teaching common sense—yes, it’s a learned skill—and only focus on book sense. I fear we are doing a major disservice to our new generations, assuming common sense doesn’t have to be learned. If you don’t believe me, go on down to your local Walmart and see how many folks don’t know how to walk on the right side of the aisle. I recall practicing this task in school, lining up in the hallway and walking single-file. Are you asking yourself why should this be a thing? Well, let me tell ya, it’s so we don’t knock noggins! It’s the law to drive on the right side of the road to avoid collisions, hello common sense, so don’t be stubborn about doing it in buildings or sidewalks too.
I could go on and on about common sense, but another lesson is to know when to leave well enough alone. I just hope y’all get my point that we should be teaching such things as not touching a hot stove, to look both ways before crossing the road, to put sugar in your iced tea. Okay, that last one was a joke… Maybe.
Lesson 3: The Importance of Naptime
Naptime is a lost artform. It’s become more important to keep up the appearance of being super-crazy busy, because society believes busyness translates to success and status. Never mind the fact that we are wearing ourselves out to the point of becoming unwell both mentally and physically. I remember being excited about purchasing my son’s mat and cover set for naptime, but that was snuffed when his kindergarten teacher regretfully informed me that they had to eliminate naptime due to not having time for it. I don’t like the word stupid, but that’s what I thought about that. Nate was so exhausted his first year of school that he’d fall asleep in the car on the short ride home most days. It taught him that achievement was above the need to rest. Isn’t that sad? In my kindergarten, naptime taught students to listen to their bodies and when they were tired they should rest.
No wonder in today’s society folks are burning out so quickly and are in a perpetual state of grouchiness. I bet a lot of this nonsense of quarreling and taking offense so easily could be eliminated with a good ole naptime ritual.
Lesson 4: Be Respectful
Back in the day, being disrespectful wasn’t put up with. We were taught that it’s not our place to hold it against someone just because they come from a different background than us. You don’t have to agree with them, but you certainly do not have the right to mistreat them because of it. Yes, disagreements do happen, but handle it diplomatically and calmly.
Teachers didn’t put up with quarreling and ganging up on others in the classroom and neither should we in our daily lives, or on social media for that matter. It disgusts me that political figures on both sides think it’s okay to do this, and I want to start a petition to send those rascals back to kindergarten to learn respect. Use to, when you called people names or told lies about them, the teacher would make you apologize and then put you in a timeout, normally with your nose in a dusty corner of the classroom. You certainly weren’t allowed to join in the fun at recess. You had to face consequences for you behavior and this is where our society is going sideways. No one is held accountable nowadays. Perhaps this pandemic is the perfect time for us all to take a timeout, and to work on washing away some of this disrespectful behavior while practicing our handwashing technics.
Lesson 5: Mind Your Business
My kindergarten teacher did not put up with silly tattletales. She said if we spent our energy making sure we were behaving and not worrying about our classmate’s conduct, then we’d all be better off. The lady knew what she was talking about. We’re so busy minding everyone else’s business and running our mouths about all the ways they are failing that we neglect our own faults. I’m advocating for the word couth to be added to today’s lesson plan.
Having good manners and some refinement could go a long way in eliminating invasive attitudes that are spreading faster than the coronavirus. Let’s reflect on our own attitude and stop worrying about everyone else’s. Be the best you that you can be. Doing so would certainly work in all our favors.
I realize these lessons may not be popular with everyone, and another trend is to learn everything the hard way, but my kindergarten experience taught me there is nothing wrong with living a simpler way of life where complication is an area to avoid. I also learned that it’s perfectly okay to be a decent person and share kindness to others even if they don’t deserve it.
If I offended anyone with my words, then I apologize. As already stated, that’s not my intention. I pray that you all stay healthy during this time.
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