Getting along

Right now I am not happy with our leaders–to put it mildly. When I see what’s going on–and hear some of the rhetoric–it feels like I’m back on an elementary school playground. “Mine!” “No, mine!” “These are my rules!” “If you don’t want to play my way, then you don’t need to play at all!”

Come on, folks!

What happened to civility? to the willingness to work together? Compromise is not a dirty word!

There was a time when individuals who had different perspectives and beliefs were still willing to listen to each other…to talk with each other…to find the overlapping circles where they could agree. But we seem to have lost that–both in “regular” society and definitely in Congress…and the country is the poorer for that.

I think we made what we thought was a wise decision when we decided on term limits for Congress, but I think it’s backfired. When members knew there was a good chance they could be working together for a number of years, there was the opportunity to get acquainted…to develop relationships that allowed working together to happen. But when folks realized they had only a limited number of years, then they knew they had to make their mark immediately–and in a way that would get attention…and that extremism is hurting us all.

At some point, we all have to learn how to get along again. That doesn’t mean that we’re going to have to give up our cherished beliefs. But it does mean being willing to listen and work with each other for the good of all.

Maybe we all need to go back to kindergarten:

Most of what 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 sandbox at nursery 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.


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 for traffic, hold hands and stick together.

Be aware of wonder.

Remember the little seed in the plastic 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 plastic cup — they all die. So do we.

And then remember the book about Dick and Jane 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 sane living.

Think what a better world it would be if we all — the whole world — had cookies and milk about 3 o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or if we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and cleaned up our own messes. 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.

~ Robert Fulghum ~

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