Kindergarten lessons for Kirsten
by John Norberg, humor columnist s

This was a big week. Our youngest grandchild, Kirsten, started kindergarten.

Of course there was tremendous excitement, anticipation, nervousness,tension, stress, tears. But don't worry.

Eventually, her mom and dad got over it.

Granddad took it a little harder.

The first day of kindergarten is one of those monumental times in life - like the day you graduate from high school and college, the day you get married, the day you get your first job and the day you discover the tremendous error in your checkbook as you're driving home from buying your first car.

I was anxious to find out how it went.

Granddad: "How was your first day of kindergarten?"

Kirsten: "I LOVED it!"

Granddad: "Great. What did you love most? The reading? The learning centered play? The computer?"

Kirsten: "The Kool Ade and Fruit Loops!"

Granddad: "You had Kool Ade and Fruit Loops!"

Kirsten: "And we're going to have them again tomorrow."

Granddad: "Unbelievable! How about trading snacks with me?"

Kirsten: "No."

Granddad: "Then when is Bring Your Granddad To Kool Ade and Fruit Loops Day?"

Robert Fulghum wrote a book, "All I Really Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten." This is definitely true. In kindergarten you learn all the important lessons in life - being a good friend, never hitting, don't interrupt when someone else is talking, hold hands with someone you like when you walk out into the world. These are the basics you need to know to succeed in life.

But there's another side to this.

Everything I really needed to know in kindergarten actually has taken me to the age of 55 to figure out.

For instance, I've finally learned that kindergarten teachers are 24 years old aren't ancient after all. In fact, principals who are 50 aren't all that old, either.

So Kirsten, here are some of the other things I've learned in recent years that might help you in kindergarten. They sure would have helped me:

• Being in bed by 9 p.m. is actually a treat.

• A good breakfast is the best way to start the day, but mom would prefer you let her make the scrambled eggs herself.

• Midday naps are a great idea.

• Don't believe the stories the older kids tell you. Teachers do nothave eyes behind their heads. However, they do have x-ray vision, so be careful.

• You can still get accepted into college even if you can't color inside the lines.

• Unfortunately, working half days is not going to continue for the restof your life.

• Be nice to the nerdy kids because some day you'll be working for them.

• Adding and subtracting are the most important math skills you'll ever learn. And if you're like me, they're the only math skills you'll ever really learn.

• When boys pull your pigtails they're just working up the nerve to ask you to marry them. Be patient. This will take another 25 to 30 years and a lot more pigtail pulling.

• Always feel free to bring questions to your granddad.

• Don't believe all the answers you get to your questions.

• Don't expect to know everything immediately. It will be many years before you know it all - probably not until you're 13.

• Don't worry about your penmanship. You can always become a doctor.

• But most of all, Kirsten, I've learned this. Never lose that enthusiasm, excitement and love for learning that you have today.

It's the secret to a successful, happy life.

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