Conversations around me have been turning lately, and with a degree of hopelessness and cynicism, to the present state of the world. This includes the looming American presidential election, the investigation of ex-prime minister Brian Mulroney’s investment dealings with a shady German ‘businessman’, the state of our global environment, the effects of the current drop in the value of the US dollar, teachers molesting students, gang-style murders in our province, and the list goes on.
Division, deception and suspicion seem to be dominating our news and it makes me so sad. How can it be that we still have not learned that we need to share, that we need to clean up after ourselves and that killing doesn’t beget anything other than more killing, no matter how good our intentions? There’s a folksy writer living on a houseboat in Seattle who wrote a book called: All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. (Robert Fulghum, Ivy Books, New York, 1986) In it he reflects on some of the things he has learned in life, summarized in this list:
Play Fair Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’ 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 out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.
This isn’t a remedy for everything that ails us but I think our world might be somewhat simpler if we tried to live by these maxims as a starter.
Bearing in mind how young we are in kindergarten, I’d like to share with you the words, with permission, of my young friend. He’s nine years old and I really like his way of looking at the brotherhood and sisterhood of humanity. Sometimes the young are our best teachers.
When I was little I used to think one thing: I thought that everyone was connected in our family by a blue line. Blue is the colour of the sky so it’s very hard to see these lines, but sometimes on gray days you can make out little blue flake molecules if you look really hard. This blue line is connected for miles and miles and miles, even to Australia and beyond. And every person in the world is connected to his family through these lines. I believe that this line can never be cut. the air in the world is squished around us because part of it is the blue line because that blue line is connected to every single human being everywhere. Every time a person dies the line fades to a really light blue, but it is still there.