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Lessons I hope my children learn

I’ve always joked about how well prepared I hope my children will be when I kick them out of the nest. (Currently, the nest eviction time feels like it will be never. Well played, COVID-19.) I want them to make fixable mistakes and be able to learn from them while still in our house. I want. I want. I want. So, with all the other swirl of stress surrounding our every decision, I think about the book by Robert Fulghum, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” This series of anecdotal stories isn’t the part I re-read. I review Fulghum’s author statement/credo to his readers.

Fulghum brings people to the basics of schoolroom behavior, reminding everyone to “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 someone. Wash your hands before eating.” It’s a long list of simple tasks. For my family, I’d like to add a few additional goals.

I hope my children learn to accept disappointment, to not sidestep it, but to face it for the heart-wrenching task of the moment. I want them to acknowledge their feelings. I want them to get angry and to be sad because sometimes it is the right time and place. I hope for them to understand that for each negative thought there can be a positive turn.

I want my children to understand asking for help is a positive trait. Being independent is wonderful but it is never a sign of weakness to want to continue to learn or seek help from experts.

I hope my children continue to raise their hands whether it is to ask questions or to help others. I want them to remain curious. I want them to dive into a job, a hobby, a sport, a community with as much enthusiasm as a child during recess.

I hope my children understand the reason we have told them to never turn down work is because every job has value. In school, we’ve stressed that weeding out their weaknesses/dislikes for a class they don’t enjoy is just as important as figuring out their strengths. Similar to formal education, I want my children to approach employment as an opportunity to narrow the playing field or to find a vocation.

There are many other hopes and wishes for my children like finishing the laundry consists of washing, drying, folding, and putting clothes away. I may have to give up on this one. So for now I’ll refer back to Fulghum: “No matter how old you are — when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.” I’ll just add, and wear a mask. Stay safe!

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