“And do not forget to do good and to share with others . . .” – Hebrews 13:16
“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 draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. 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.” Such simple yet profound wisdom from Robert Fulghum’s bestselling book from the 1980’s, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten!
Every so often I feel the urge to pull that little book off my bookshelf, blow the dust off and scroll through its pages; for how easy it is to become distracted by the wrong motives, by achievement and performance, consumption and accumulation, and other worldly, selfish desires. Robert Fulghum’s simple message helps me get re-centered on what really matters. And to think, these are lessons we all learned as far back as kindergarten.
For several years my wife Tee has been volunteering two days every week at Hugs Café, one of the finest lunch establishments in our adopted hometown of McKinney, Texas. But Hugs is no ordinary restaurant. While it does serve delicious food, Hugs is unique because it exists to serve an even greater purpose, to provide employment opportunities for adults considered to have special needs such as Downs Syndrome. Established as a nonprofit by its visionary founder Ruth Thompson and her husband Chris, dear friends of ours, Hugs depends on volunteers like Tee to work alongside the paid “team members”, who are provided a sense of purpose and a chance to earn a decent wage.
To have lunch at Hugs Café is to experience what we all learned in kindergarten – share everything, play fair, don’t hit people, put things back where you found them, clean up your mess, and so on. Except at Hugs there’s an added bonus, one we also probably learned in kindergarten – when you leave you get a hug. Like Robert Fulghum’s book, Hugs Café helps me get re-centered on what really matters. It also brings to mind that little passage from Hebrews: “And don’t forget to do good and to share with others.”