The last day

We have a couple of very happy children today. It was the last day of school and is now the eve of summer break.

I can still remember how that felt. There was euphoria, (although I didn’t know what that word meant in Grade 4) from the long year finally being over. There was a little melancholy at the thought of not seeing dear friends for a while. Anticipation for all the fun and free time during the long summer days ahead. And mostly a sense of accomplishment for the reasonably good grades achieved.

It is times like these that I wish the passage of time in the corporate world could have a bit more ceremony. Instead of scaling back and almost relaxing a bit before holidays, we have the pedal to the metal working long hours to try to not have so much work piled up when we return. It is no wonder people don’t take long enough holidays or relax enough while away.

It goes back to what Robert Fulghum said about learning everything he needed to know in kindergarten:

ALL 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 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 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.
  • Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
  • Take any of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm.
  • Think what a better world it would be if all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had a basic policy to always put thing back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.
  • 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.

It appears that smart adults are forgetting most of what we learned as little children. Maybe it is time to post these reminders back on our office walls and put something special into our working days. It might be surprising to see the kind of dividends these kind of endeavours would pay out.

One thought on “The last day

  1. Years ago your dad was told by the doctor that he had to take at least two weeks of vacation time all at once, and completely unplug from work. It was the only way to recharge his batteries (he is a car guy, so it was a good comparison.) Since then, the ability to unplug from work has become much harder. The culprits – email and smartphones.

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