In Addition to U.S. History, Re-Examine Kindergarten?

With storefronts boarded up around the country in anticipation of post-election mayhem, it seems pretty clear that many Americans have forgotten lessons once taught in kindergarten.

President Donald J. Trump this week signed an executive order establishing the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission, which will work to improve the understanding and teaching of the history and principles of the founding of the United States.

It also might be fruitful to re-examine what is being taught in kindergarten.

Clearly, many Americans on both sides of the political aisle either were not taught the “rules” or have forgotten them.

Hence, boarded up storefronts, trucks carrying Trump supporters with flags that surrounded Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign bus, young people assaulting older people who are wearing Trump MAGA hats, and so-called civil rights protesters shouting at outdoor diners until they raised their fists in solidarity.

This behavior would not be permitted in almost any kindergarten class.

The Rules

Robert Fulghum, an American minister, wrote a best-selling book in 1986 called, All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten. He said the world would be a better place if adults followed the same rules that children are taught in kindergarten (i.e., play fair.).

Some of the rules are worth repeating:

  • 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.

(That last one is also good advice for the pandemic!)

Don’t Lie!

Trump formed the 1776 Commission to counter a deeply flawed series published by The New York Times Magazine called The 1619 Project, which was roundly condemned as a false depiction of U.S. history by some of the nation’s top historians. It also was criticized on both the right and the left for containing factual errors and omissions. Despite this, the Time is distributing a curriculum based on the series that is being taught as history to school children around the country.

As Fulghum reminds us, it is important be honest. To play fair. Don’t lie!

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