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All I need to know

There was a book published a while back that was filed with simple and profound wisdom. The book’s title is; All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, by Robert Fulghum.

Robert was largely right about many subjects but here is where I am at odds. All I really need to know, I learned from my parents — mostly my Mother. Our schools reinforced the lessons I learned at home.

My Father taught me to never fear any task, just get to the doing. Mother had a very direct way of teaching that was primarily focused on me (one of six children) because I needed more teaching than the others. Call it stubborn, obstinate or disinterested, I was a problem child, and Mother’s lessons usually had to be repeated several times before I got the message.

My Mother had a real commitment to my growth and the growth of the other five siblings. The problem was, I took most of her time and energy. She never quit. She would often double down.

What I learned at home, was what I took to school and into life.

My Mom taught me many things at home. Among the lessons:

*  Always take the high road.

*  Listen more than I talk and to not talk back.

*  Get up every day and put my left foot in front of my right foot and start walking.

*  Be dependable.

*  Use proper language, no matter the circumstances.

*  Don’t drink too much and never smoke.

*  Eat as right as I could, and only as much as I need.

*  Love my brothers and sisters.

*  Respect the USA and to stand during the Pledge (because not standing was never an option).

*  The teacher is always right.

*  Don’t trust everybody, only they who truly deserved to be trusted

*  Save

*  Clean my room and to clean up after myself

*  Hang around better people

*  Expectations should be reasonable, but high

*  You don’t have to settle for less. Just because you grew up somewhat poor, you do not have to stay poor

*  Never stop leaning

*  Go to Church and to pray

*  Never leave the house unless without clean underwear.

She always added that, if I was in an accident, she would be embarrassed if my underwear were not clean. Still, to this day, I am a bit confused about the logic and importance of that directive.

I learned from someone who cared enough to teach, even to the point of pain.

Dennis Wade is the president and publisher of The Lawton Constitution. He can be reached at

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