Robert Fulghum may have earned an A+ and a cool million dollars from the lessons he learned in kindergarten and subsequently shared with us in his 1989 best-selling book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, but some of us slow learners needed to watch our own kids go through the paces before the life lessons sank in for us.
The honest among us will even admit that our newfound understanding comes as a whopping relief. I think we sensed that another round of instruction might leave us looking like some of those three-timing fifth graders with G.I. Joe biceps and stubble that hints at the makings of a ZZ Top-like beard.
While my own personal marks don't qualify me as valedictorian of the graduating fifth grade class of parents of Los Alamitos Elementary School, I did end up with a respectable B average. In a humbling act of generosity, I thought I would share my report card with you, complete with comments from my teacher, Mr. Fulghum himself.
Because I should have mastered these life lessons either when I was in kindergarten myself or when I was raising a kindergartener, the man was generous enough to devise something of an elementary school exit exam, which allows parents like me to keep trying until our dunce caps can be traded in for a mortar board when our last child graduates from fifth grade.
Lesson 1: Share everything
"Shana consistently forked over her last $20 so that her children could have fun, fun, fun till their creditors take the T-Bird... er, Master Card away. Since no one said the sharing had to be voluntary, Mrs. Moore ranked at the top of her class for sharing/being blindly pillaged." Final grade: A+
Lesson 2: Play fair
"Shana impressed me with her growth this year by learning to avoid making her kids cry by stealing their Monopoly properties, sneaking an extra roll of the dice in Yahtzee, or stacking the deck in Candyland so she would get Queen Frostine early in the game. She did, however, resort to tricking her kids during a Scrabble match into believing that "Qoxz" was a real word meaning "a special form of quartz rock," which when placed on a triple-word square landed her a cool 87 points and, subsequently, lowered both my trust in her and her daughters' love of board games." Final grade: B
Lesson 3: Don't hit people
"Shana demonstrated a thorough understanding that today's generation of kids knows and sees manipulative value in the Child Protective Services (CPS) organization. If not for one alleged incident involving a controversial wrist grab, this insight would have qualified Mrs. Moore for an A." Final grade: B
Lesson 4: Put things back where you found them
"Shana excelled so greatly in this subject that she also managed to put away every cell phone, ipod, mismatched sock, text book and hair clip for every other human and canine in the household." Final grade: A+ (despite all attempts to fail this class)
Lesson 5: Say sorry when you hurt somebody
"Mrs. Moore's lightening speed in making amends for the wrist grabbing incident resulted in an aborted call to CPS. Extra credit points were given for her bravery for not hiding the phone during this volatile situation." Final grade: A+
Lesson 6: Wash your hands before you eat
"Shana is a woman who appears to know precisely where her hands have been (i.e., in the hamper, toilet bowl and dog dish) and has a perfect record for washing them before consoling herself with cookies and milk, which, according to my research with kindergarteners, are good for you, yet appear to do little for Mrs. Moore's ability to zip her pants." Final grade: A+
Lesson 7: Take a nap every afternoon
"Shana doesn't actually know she takes naps, so this grade will come as a surprise to her. She believes that her third cup of coffee sustains her throughout the day's activity, but she is actually sleepwalking as she sorts laundry, battles soap scum, feeds the dog... and, yes, washes her hands with enough frequency for an endorsement from the obsessive-compulsive society." Final grade: A+
Lesson 8: Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some
"Shana tried to convince me that driving other people so that they might have these opportunities gave her a vicarious experience or "contact high" in this subject matter. Her grade was raised slightly because of her expressed desire to be sent to a 60-day summer sleepover camp to get back up to grade level." Final grade: D
"It was a delight to have Mrs. Moore in the class of life lessons over these past 35 years. I have every confidence that her mastery of our coursework has prepared her for a bright future as a middle school parent, where she will be well equipped to cope with a more grade appropriate amount of GI Joe arms and ZZ Top beards."
Causes Shana Moore Supports