Robert Fulghum engages with musings on life, death, love, pain, joy, sorrow, and the best chicken fried steak in the continental United States The little seed in the Styrofoam cup offers a reminder about our own mortality and the delicate nature of life a spider who catches and loses a full grown woman in its web one fine morning teaches us about surviving catastrophe the love story of Jean Francois Pilatre and his hot air balloon reminds us to be brave and unafraid to fly life lessons hidden in the laundry pile magical qualities found in a box of crayons hide and seek vs sardines and how these games relate to the nature of God All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten is brimming with the very stuff of life and the significance found in the smallest details


10 thoughts on “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

  1. Fergus Fergus says:

    When an angry mom defends her first child, folks listen Back when I was still not past five, I started Grade One I remember so vividly the first dayGrade One was gonna be tough, and the first Day of it was so inauspicious a bleak day in January JANUARY, you say Correct You see, I had started Kindergarten the previous September, but my mom had insisted to Dad that I was too smart for mere extended playtime Of course, she was right in a way because I had a January birth date but ONLY When an angry mom defends her first child, folks listen Back when I was still not past five, I started Grade One I remember so vividly the first dayGrade One was gonna be tough, and the first Day of it was so inauspicious a bleak day in January JANUARY, you say Correct You see, I had started Kindergarten the previous September, but my mom had insisted to Dad that I was too smart for mere extended playtime Of course, she was right in a way because I had a January birth date but ONLY under that technicality.But she got her way.But then, the school principal said NO way, when they locked horns over it The facts were obvious For you see I COULDN T READ YET whoops But Rule Number One for negotiators is, NEVER argue with a furious woman NEGOTIATE with herAnd of course, Rule Two is, if she s still enraged, give in to her with CONDITIONS My condition was, of course, if I chose to accept it if he can t read after 2 months He s OUTTA THERE.My mom accepted the condition in Proxy.The principal gave me mid nineteen fifties intelligence tests, which somehow I aced musta been a good day.So, with this Damoclean Sword poised over my head, on a cold and dreary January day, I walked the dreary quarter mile to school, with my commiserating best pal at the time, Stephen Smith My arrival in the classroom was no less ominous From the blackboard, there stared down at all of us twerpy, spruced up kids we were really full of snakes n snails or sugar n spice a dazzling array of colourful posters depicting smiling cartoon characters Some had dazzling white teeth Some had carefully manicured fingernails But all those posters were spittIng images of PERFECT PARAGONS OF VIRTUE Hard for me to emulate, even at that age Yikes Most of us had not QUITE yet learned these things and I was ONE of em.But, first off, learning to read was even HARDER We were each given a Think Do Book, and wonder of wonders our first Dick Jane Reader We started with Dick Jane First book See that word That s S E E Now close your books Spell SEE for me who can do it Yes, Johnny In turn, the kids who spelled correctly got to join a Conga Line that sang a little Victory Ditty, tauntingly circling the other ones still left seated, poor dunces Like me I think I was the LAST one in that snobbish group of 5 going on 6 year olds to learn to spell I was always such a late bloomer But did you know Dick Jane books are also FULL of civics lessons Their hygiene, manners and conduct were IRREPROACHABLE Impossibly so.For this was the brightly coloured laboratory where we little Baby Boomers learned our citizenship ABC s.So old Robert is right In those first years we learned EVERYTHING WE NEEDED TO KNOW IN LIFE.Well, almostBack in those innocent days of the fifties we didn t yet have bright little posters of Birds Bees So I thankfully could keep THAT hurdle for later onThank Heaven


  2. Raymond Raymond says:

    I am not sure this book is important to me But I will tell you this one of the most delightful things I had read in a long time, and a thing I have tried to memorize, is Fulghum s wonderful list 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 th I am not sure this book is important to me But I will tell you this one of the most delightful things I had read in a long time, and a thing I have tried to memorize, is Fulghum s wonderful list 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 someand draw and paint and sing and dance and playand work every day 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.Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobodyreally knows how or why, but we are all like that.Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and eventhe little seed in the Styrofoam cup they all die.So do we.And then remember the Dick and Jane booksand the first word you learned the biggestword of all LOOK


  3. Roy Roy says:

    When I read this book years ago, my first thought was that it would make an excellent Christmas gift for anyone who I couldn t figure out what else to get The simple philosophy of living that it promotes and the author s easy going style of prose would elicit a smile from a stone I can t quite say that it changed my life, but I was certainly charmed by this book It also taught me a lesson in the money making potential of publishing because I happened to work for Ballantine at the time and was When I read this book years ago, my first thought was that it would make an excellent Christmas gift for anyone who I couldn t figure out what else to get The simple philosophy of living that it promotes and the author s easy going style of prose would elicit a smile from a stone I can t quite say that it changed my life, but I was certainly charmed by this book It also taught me a lesson in the money making potential of publishing because I happened to work for Ballantine at the time and was constantly issuing purchase orders for reprints of huge quantities of this little paperback I recall that it only cost about a quarter per book to produce and we were charging 6 or 7 for it, quite a nice profit for the little goldmine that could The author visited our office one day and acted exactly the way you would have expected him to, like the wise, charming grandpa you never actually had


  4. Jessaka Jessaka says:

    Wisdom of the AgesI thought that this book would be dorky It was anything but Also, It is not just about things you learned in kindergarten, it also has anecdotes that are so wonderfully charming that I will read them again and again In fact, I want to read every book he wrote It does begin with things that we were taught in kindergarten, and it is a pretty short list since 5 year old don t have long attention spans 1 Share everything 2 Play fair3 Don t hit people4 Put things back where Wisdom of the AgesI thought that this book would be dorky It was anything but Also, It is not just about things you learned in kindergarten, it also has anecdotes that are so wonderfully charming that I will read them again and again In fact, I want to read every book he wrote It does begin with things that we were taught in kindergarten, and it is a pretty short list since 5 year old don t have long attention spans 1 Share everything 2 Play fair3 Don t hit people4 Put things back where you found them5 Clean up your own mess6 Don t take things that are not yours7 Say you are sorry when you hurt somebody8 Wash your hands before you teat9 Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you10 and a fewminor thingsI don t recall learning anything in kindergarten I only recall two things about my experience, which I will add a little later Maybe I was just a slow learner, because I remember giving a boy a bloody nose in the second grade I got into trouble for it, but in the 8th grade when some boys told Billy Newhouse to go kiss me, when he reached me, I grabbed his left arm and pulled down on it, and he landed on his back on the floor I never figured out why I thought to do that, nor did I understand why it worked I also got into trouble in the second grader for throwing my arms around the neck of a real cute boy and kissing hm And then there was the cheating It isn t on Fulgrum s list, well, yes, it was It is the one that says, Play fair I learned this in the second grade when I was given back a spelling test, and when the teacher told us how the words were spelled, I wanted to change my mistake, so I broke the tip off a pencil so the teacher couldn t see what I was doing, and used it to correct my mistake I aw the teacher coming and placed my hand over the pencil tip She raised my hand and sent me to an upper grade as punishment I never understood why it was punishment since I enjoyed being in the upper class and watching a student put up a difficult math problem on the chalk board I was fascinated Here is all I remember learning in kindergarten 1 I was given graham crackers with milk, which was never as good as how my mother made them when she used chocolate icing to hold the two crackers together Actually, it wasn t to hold them together, it was to make them taste great I will pick a soggy graham cracker filled with chocolate frosting over a chocolate cake any day As for the soggy comment, well, that is when a two day old cracker really tastes great Maybe I should have said, soft, not soggy 2 The other thing I remember about kindergarten was that I was given a blue and white checked quilt to sleep on while there My grandmother had made it I only remember because I have always seen an image of myself lying on it in class, just trying to sleep And now I have an image of my little brother s Charlie Brown blanket that my mom kept even after hd grown Why didn t she save my blue and white checkered quilt Maybe it was because she got soggy in her middle age, that is, she became sentimental


  5. Maegan Maegan says:

    Essentially the GREATEST book I ve ever read I loved the humor, but it also expressed hidden truths that integrate themselves into our day to day lives in a quirky sort of way I thoroughly enjoyed the insight that you received through out the entirety of the book Made me think about thingslots of things Mr Fulghum reminds me a lot of, well, ME I thought it was stunning.


  6. Kaethe Douglas Kaethe Douglas says:

    1990 Jul 30Fulghum is chock full of advice on how to be a decent person and enjoy your life 2020 June 6This was an excellent choice for me right now I needed some positivity And very short essays ate so doable, even when I have the attention span of a litter of 10 week old puppies There have been many distracting events of late Sometimes real life doesn t feel so real when you are living through multiple history making events simultaneously.I am, and want to remain, grateful to the Fulghu 1990 Jul 30Fulghum is chock full of advice on how to be a decent person and enjoy your life 2020 June 6This was an excellent choice for me right now I needed some positivity And very short essays ate so doable, even when I have the attention span of a litter of 10 week old puppies There have been many distracting events of late Sometimes real life doesn t feel so real when you are living through multiple history making events simultaneously.I am, and want to remain, grateful to the Fulghum of thirty years ago, and the many voices on Twitter, at work, and on the steps of my local courthouse, all telling me not just what I know, that I need to do better, but what isimportant to me at the moment how to do better.I know that Black Lives Matter, that policing in the United States is institutionalized racism, that the criminal justice system in the US is institutionalized racism, that our two party political system is institutionalized racism, that in fact every system established in the US since the first colonizers arrived is justinstitutionalized racism from the privately owned hospitals whereproportionallyBlack women and infants die, through to the end, when cancer or COVID 19 disproportionately kills , and younger, Black people.It s racism all the way down.I know it, I have almost always known it, but other than educating myself, supporting efforts to increase diversity in books and publishing, and voting always for the lesser of two evils, I haven t ever managed to do much else.I must do better, and , always.I want to live in a country which is good, and just, and kind So I had better get to work there is so damn much to get done


  7. Laura Laura says:

    The only people who learned all they needed to know in kindergarten are the people who died when they were six This stupid book is as facile as its title.


  8. Apple Nocom Apple Nocom says:

    So, I don t understand why this is a New York Times best seller To each his own, then But to me, this book felt like a venue for the author to explain away his own mulling The title is All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten a and it sounds like an excuse to be a bit too childish and simplistic b but hardly any of the book is about things he really learned in Kindergarten.I don t know I m just really confused, annoyed, and disappointed.


  9. Ellie Ellie says:

    The first time I read this book, I found it annoying I called it trite It seemed too simple But on continuing to think about it and rereading parts of it, I decided it deserved better than two stars Maybe the truest lessons in life are learned early on and we just forget them or run over them in our desires for success or to fit in or out of our many fears I guess the current political social climate has made me take these lessons less for granted They are ideals for which we need to conti The first time I read this book, I found it annoying I called it trite It seemed too simple But on continuing to think about it and rereading parts of it, I decided it deserved better than two stars Maybe the truest lessons in life are learned early on and we just forget them or run over them in our desires for success or to fit in or out of our many fears I guess the current political social climate has made me take these lessons less for granted They are ideals for which we need to continue to reach, attempt to embody Simple maybe but not easy to live out


  10. Marie Marie says:

    I find it funny that so many people who reviewed this book made comments about the title Why on earth does the title really matter I know I have read hundreds of books with odd titles, but I did not base my review on it.This book was easy to read I read it in one rainy afternoon I did not pick this book up to find the answers of life I read it because it seemed light and fun which it was.I feel the book is very cool hundreds of times I have thought random, misc thoughts and told myse I find it funny that so many people who reviewed this book made comments about the title Why on earth does the title really matter I know I have read hundreds of books with odd titles, but I did not base my review on it.This book was easy to read I read it in one rainy afternoon I did not pick this book up to find the answers of life I read it because it seemed light and fun which it was.I feel the book is very cool hundreds of times I have thought random, misc thoughts and told myself, I should write that down, but of course never do.Fun, coffee table type book that I will keep around and read again someday