Life rules to post on your ’fridge door

Last Saturday, my daughter and I took a nostalgic journey into the past. We went to a play in the auditorium of the high school she attended.
The high school stage brought back memories of a girl who played an old woman in the senior play, of a young violinist, and a budding flutist. And there she was sitting beside me, now an adult.
Like so many things in life, her high school years were just a flash. There one moment and gone the next.
Life is so short! And, last Saturday, I pondered the meaning of life.
The title of the play was “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum.
The play begins with the actors sitting on stools while the kindergarten teacher asks questions. “How many of you can dance? How many of you can sing? How many of you can play an instrument? How many of you can draw?”
All of the students raised their hands enthusiastically. They could do anything—dance, sing, play, and draw.
The next scene was a high school class and the answers were more guarded. “I play an instrument, but not very well. I have no talent for art.”
When the same questions were presented to an adult audience, they had mostly one excuse. “I’m too busy. I don’t have time.”
So whatever happened to all that kindergarten exuberance?
“All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” began as a one-page life creed for Fulghum. It was passed around the country and touched everyone who read it.
“One day,” says Fulghum, “it was sent home in the knapsack of a child whose mother was a literary agent.”
That literary agent saw the potential and pushed Fulghum to write a book and “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” was born.
The book struck a chord and led to other books. Since then, Fulghum’s books have sold more than 15 million copies in 93 countries and have been translated into 27 languages.
So what is this universal wisdom that people need to know?
It all boils down to that short initial creed that Fulghum wrote. “Share everything. . . . Don’t hit people. . . . Put things back where you found them. . . . Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. . . .”
Imagine what life would be like if we all lived by those four simple rules.
There would be no wars and no family feuds. The world’s wealth would be redistributed and there would be no starving people. We wouldn’t have messy houses. And best of all, there would be no hurt feelings.
In the play, the actors recited Fulghum’s full creed, finishing with “When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.”
It was a striking moment when the nine actors lined up on the stage holding hands. It was very clear that we could tackle anything in life—if we always “hold hands and stick together.”
That’s what we learned in kindergarten!
So why not post these life rules on your refrigerator door and recover your childhood exuberance? Share everything and don’t hit people. Say you’re sorry when you hurt someone. Hold hands and stick together.
If you follow these elemental rules, you’ll have a wonderful life.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

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