Keeping with this week’s Back to School theme, today’s Quick Tip takes us all the way back to what we learned in kindergarten.

Janine’s post on the basic lessons in writing we all learn in elementary school made me think of the early lessons from kindergarten, and of course I was reminded of the often-quoted list from Robert Fulghum’s book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. 

Published twenty-five years ago, this #1 New York Times bestseller reminds us to get back to the basics—of manners, of pleasures, of needs, and of knowledge. In case it’s been a while since you’ve seen them, here’s the list most often seen:

  • 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 every day some.
  • Take a nap every afternoon.
  • When you go out in 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 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 Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
  • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.

Some of these, like “Flush” make me laugh, while others, like “Be aware of wonder” and “Live a balanced life” make me stop and think. Have I been aware of the wonder today? Do I live a balanced life?  And at a time when there is so much anger, hatred, and bullying in the world, I wonder what things would be like if more people played fair, didn’t hit others, and didn’t take things that weren’t theirs.

So, today’s Diva Tip is to revisit the things we learned in kindergarten and see how focusing on even one of those ideas changes how or what you’re writing.

Except maybe “Flush.”  Yeah, don’t focus on that one.

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