Important Life Lessons From Kindergarten

‘Tis the season for mixed emotions! The exhilaration of school ending … the fear of a non-scheduled summer vacation … and the bittersweetness of graduation.

The last emotion was what I felt yesterday as I helped C into a frilly and sparkly dress and tied the gold ribbon behind her back. It was with pride that I watched her enter the auditorium with a blue cap balanced on her head. And it was with a twinge of sadness that I hugged her after the ceremony and said, “Good job, baby!”, to which she promptly replied, “I’m not a baby!”

But she’ll always be my baby, even though she is now a kindergarten graduate. 🙂

I am so thankful for all the teachers out there who invest their time and hearts into making a difference in the world – one child at a time. I am especially thankful for C’s kindergarten teacher (who had been E’s, too) who helped me see a different side of my munchkin. During the graduation, Mrs. C handed out a certificate to each student with a character trait that she thought represented them the best. I had been looking forward to this part of the ceremony and hearing C’s personalized trait. Would it be helpfulness or kindness? Or maybe joyfulness?

Nope.

Mrs. C chose gentleness.

*Insert open-mouthed expression here.*

Haha. In all honesty, the trait of gentleness had never crossed my mind. The C I know and love is spunky with a capital S. She sets her mind to do something and doesn’t let anything stop her. She is expressive and loud like a firecracker. Mild and meek, she is not.

But Mrs. C mentioned that C treats the other kids in her class with gentleness. And that when it is her turn to be the “calendar person” and she pokes her in the arm with the stick that she is supposed to be using to point at the date on the wall, she does it gently. LOL. (And yes, she is the only kid who has ever dared to poke Mrs. C – I tell ya, she’s spunky!)

My gentle, spunky munchkin!

My gentle, spunky munchkin!

Mrs. C also shared the following poem with all the parents: “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. It’s a sweet reminder of what’s important in life.

Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top
Of the graduate school mountain,
But there in the sandpile at Sunday school.

These are the things I learned:

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 somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Flush.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life –
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.

May we all strive to live out these lessons from kindergarten. 🙂

Check out this new song by Jessie J., “Flashlight”, that has a graduation feel to it. Hope you have a wonderful time celebrating the graduates in your lives!

What life skill from the kindergarten poem do you want to incorporate into your life?

It’s Not About the Money

Image courtesy of Simon Howden/freedigitalphotos.net

If there’s anything I’m good at, it’s finding bargains.  I love walking into a store and heading straight for the sales/clearance area and digging around for treasures.  You could say that I got the “el cheapo” gene passed down to me because frugality runs in my family.

Let me tell you just how cheap my family is – my sister told me a few years ago that she didn’t know cars had windshield wiper fluid because the hand-me-down she inherited didn’t have any!  I guess my dad never bothered to refill it after it ran out, which meant my poor sister had been driving around with a dirty windshield.  And whenever my parents give my kids things that are not packaged, I can be certain that they found it lying around somewhere (and some poor kid is still looking for his or her hat/scooter/swimming gear/nintendo). 😛

While it’s not a bad idea to save some money for a rainy day, I’ve learned that being cheap is not always the best way to live your life.  For one thing, it’s a bit limiting to buy something I kind of like just because it’s on sale instead of buying what I really like at full price.  It’s also kind of silly to have a bunch of almost empty lotion or shampoo bottles taking up residence in the bathroom because I’m trying to squeeze every last drop out of them.  And driving across town for less expensive gas may be defeating the purpose of saving 3 cents per gallon. 😛

When it all comes down to it though, it’s not about the money; it’s about people and how money affects them.  As hubby, Mr. Not-So-Cheapo, has taught me, money is just a tool and should be spent with a purpose.  Maybe its purpose is to buy lunch for the kids at Wendy’s instead of cooking it at home so mom saves her sanity.  Or its purpose is to buy a little plastic toy from one of those money-sucking vending machines just for the sake of making your kid smile (this was hubby’s idea, not mine, haha).

Lately, I’ve been seeing the purpose of using money for helping those in need.  I really want to pass on a heart of giving to E and C and not a heart of frugality, which can easily turn into one of stinginess (believe me, I know!).  So, being inspired by hubby of course, I now try to keep some cash in my wallet and give to people who are homeless.  The kids have caught on and whenever they see someone standing on the street, they readily want to pull over and help them.  One time, C even wanted to give her fruit bar to a guy holding a sign that read, “homeless and hungry”.  It makes me so happy to see them show concern and being generous towards others.  And hopefully they are learning that it is better to give than to receive (which would be nice to keep in mind the next time we are in the toy aisle at Target).  🙂

I’m certainly not a scientist, but I’m starting to think about doing some genetic engineering.  I think it’s about time to modify my el-cheapo gene cause it’s about so much more than the money.

Here’s a fun song, “Price Tag”, by Jessie J.

Are you a spender or saver?