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My oldest son, Luke, started kindergarten last week and it left me feeling very nostalgic. As he walked up to his new school on the first day holding my hand, I couldn’t help but think about how his real “education” was about to begin. My feelings of excitement, sadness, and curiosity made me think of all the lessons he was about to learn about life from this great year he was embarking upon. It was then that I thought of the great poem by Robert Fulghum “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”. It goes like this, and I quote:

  • 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.
  • Flush.
  • 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.
  • When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
  • Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam 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 Styrofoam cup—they all die. So do we.
  • And then remember Dick and Jane books and the first word you learned—the biggest word of all—LOOK and then LISTEN.

Everything we need to know is in there somewhere. Take any one of these items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your businesses, occupation, family life, relationships, etc. and it holds true. And it still is true; no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to “hold hands and stick together.”

While I am sad to state that kindergartners now-a-days don’t have “nap time”, what a better world we would have if we all had a nap everyday and applied some of these other principles learned in this poem. Each and every one of these points is valuable in our lives. Think back on your kindergarten experience and think about how many of the same principles you learned then still apply to you today.

My hope and encouragement to you is that you take care of yourself and you think about “simplifying” your life to that of a kindergartner. Sometimes keeping it basic and simple is the best approach to things and my son’s Luke first day at kindergarten last week reminded me of that lesson in life.

Todd Durkin is a 2 Time Personal Trainer of the Year and Founder of Fitness Quest 10 & Todd Durkin Enterprises in San Diego, CA. He trains people from all walks of life, but is best known for the work he does with over 25 NFL Superstars. He trains the likes of LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, Reggie Bush, Alex Smith, and Donnie Edwards amongst others. His expert staff of 30 trainers, coaches, and massage therapist/bodyworkers perform over 400 weekly sessions and help educate, motivate, and inspire the world to greater levels of health & fitness. Todd has 17 DVD’s on fitness & sports performance and has been featured in many national magazines and media outlets. His ezine newsletter “TD Times” is his way of connecting clients, trainers, coaches, colleagues, and friends from all over the world. He can best be reached via his websites,, or by using the contact form below: [easy-contact]

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