Oh, to be young just one more time

Published 9:15 pm Monday, January 13, 2003

By By Paul Keane
Right across the street from our office is a playground and First Baptist Church. During nice days such as the ones we've enjoyed this week, you will hear the laughter, yelling and squealing of young children just thoroughly enjoying themselves.
Makes me pretty jealous, to be honest about it.
Let's face it. When you're 4 or 5 years old, it's probably the best you're ever going to have it in your life. Things don't get much better than being fed on a regular basis without having to worry about, playing all day, watching cartoons, taking a nap and basically just having fun.
Sure, there's the little thing about mastering potty training and shoe tying, but the upside is pretty darn good.
I'm reminded of the poem by Robert Fulghum about learning so much in kindergarten. It's entitled, "Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" and goes like this:
"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 sandbox at nursery 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.
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 every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the plastic 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 plastic cup – they all die. So do we.
And then remember the book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: look.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and sane living.
Think what a better world it would be if we all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about 3 o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or if we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and cleaned up our own messes. And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together."
Yeah, it makes me jealous sometimes listening to the laughter waft from the playground across Main Street and into our office.
Paul Keane is Publisher of The Atmore Advance.

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