A Good Day – According to a Four Year Old!

Just the other day on our way home from school and work, I asked my daughter Eva how her day was. She excitedly replied, “Great.” She went on to say, “How was your’s daddy?” With the same enthusiasm as Eva, I replied: “great too.” I peeked in the rearview mirror to see her smiling. After a short delay, she asked, “Did you play outside today?” “No, not today,” I replied. “Did you have circle time,” she inquired. Again, I responded “no.” She continued by asking if I sang today. All of her questionings was beginning to dampen my enthusiasm. Her final question was “did you take a nap today, daddy?” By this point, I was completely deflated and could barely utter the word “no.” I looked into the rearview mirror to see that she was playing with her doll’s hair and had completely lost interest in our conversation. It was clear she did not agree that my day was great.

Eva is three, almost four, and has reminded us of that every day for the last four months. She has a different impression of what a “great” day is, and unlike most adults in my age range, she is looking forward to her birthday. The conversation that day reminded me of a popular book written in the early 90’s by Robert Fulgham. The book was “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” I hadn’t thought of that book in quite some time. That evening I looked up the book and you would have thought Eva wrote it.

In the book, the author suggests that if we as adults take any of the items outlined in the book, convert them to “sophisticated” adult terms they will hold clear, pure, and firm. After a quick review of the principles, I have no choice but to agree with the author. Everything we need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule, love and basic sanitation are in there. Ecology, politics, equality, and sane living are also within the pages.

Fulgham put it like this:
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.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life – learn some, think some, draw, paint, sing, dance, play and work some every day.
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.
Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup: The roots go down, and the plant goes up, and nobody knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish, hamsters, white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.

My mentor, John Maxwell, is often quoted as saying, “life is hard, get used to it.” Of course, Maxwell is right. I contend that life is hard enough without us making it harder. In reality, the rules are pretty simple; as adults, we tend to complicate them. We routinely add unnecessary white noise to our lives and do so intentionally. Author, Brene Brown says, “We wear busyness as a badge of honor. We’d be afraid of what people would say if we weren’t busy.”

Sometimes, life happens, and we find ourselves “busy.” I am thankful I have Eva in my life to remind me of what is most important. The next time she asked me how my day was, I will respond “great”! And follow up with, “I played outside” (by taking a walk or going for a run); “I had circle time” (by seeking out a co-worker and listening to them without interruption); “I sang along to Bon Jovi from my playlist.” If she asked if I took a nap, I would have to tell her “no,” but I plan on going to bed early. I hope you can find a way to make your day “great” too.

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