Did you ever go to somebody's house for dinner or a party, use the bathroom, and then look around in the medicine cabinet a little? Or get caught doing something completely strange and inexplicable? Or maybe even wondered why you have to experience so much of life before you can really understand its meaning? If you can relate to any of these situations, then Robert Fulghum's number one bestseller, All I Ever Really Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, is the book for you! As the author says, "It's a written report about what goes on in my head and life." This collection of short anecdotes from his personal life contains uncommon thoughts on common things. It stirs the psyche to think deeply about life and what it means on the whole - not necessarily to each individual. He takes basic situations he has encountered and turns them into valuable lessons the reader will never forget, or stop thinking about.
Fulghum stresses that people today miss the whole point of how to survive. You don't need to grow up and experience everything to understand the basic rules, because what most people don't realize is that those rules are taught in kindergarten. These tips apply throughout your life - not just in early childhood, but a broad meaning is included and must be understood. Some of the important lessons learned are: Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Don't take things that aren't yours. When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. Fulghum claims that if any of these terms were changed into sophisticated, adult terms and applied to family life, school, work, government, or the reader's own personal world, they would hold true.
Even though it's a strange thing to do, Fulghum assures the reader that everyone snoops around in a bathroom once in a while. He relates how it is really the best way to find out the truth about somebody. He humorously remarks that it is good to know that even in the world today, with all its differences, the bathroom is one place which demonstrates the wondrous, yet sometimes insignificant, unity of the human race.
If these common, but rarely spoken, topics interest you, then you should definitely pick up a copy of this thought-provoking, philosophical book. His comments ponder the hidden reasons why people act and think the way they do. After reading Fulghum's inspiring collection, I guarantee that you will never look at life with the same perspective again. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.