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Friday, June 22, 2012

Life Lessons from elementary school ~ John J Arent


Today is Friday and I will always remember that Friday in elementary school was the best day of the week.  Particularly, Friday afternoon when we got to do a special art class.  This was fun time compared to most of the week when we had to pay attention to our teacher and work in a very tight agenda ensuring that the precious syllabus was being followed.  Everything was so structured all week long then came Friday afternoon when either the teacher was tired, we were tired or a combination of both when we were able to do our drawings to impress our parents at the end of the school week. Attending parochial school as a child was a given growing up in my neighborhood.   It is with a fond memory that I share with you some of “life’s lessons” that I take from surviving first grade!

We learned Life-Work Balance was important ~  Most of us had a favorite time of the day, recess, but we learned that life cannot be all play but also some work as well.  In the early years, we also had some nap time….I often wonder why they stopped that?

We quickly became socially conscious ~ We all knew who the best athlete was and we also knew who was not athletic.  We knew who was smart and also those who were not.  We quickly learned who was most popular and also who was quite shy.  We learned a lot about positive people and those who whine.  We also learned quickly who had those many talents that would draw people towards them.

We learned to interact in group sessions ~ Being immersed for the first time in a group setting beyond our immediate family, we were exposed to the “golden rule”.  We may also have been exposed to less desirable actions such as teasing, bullying and domination by others that could damage our self-confidence.  We learned through these experiences that prepared us for the greater challenges that we would face as we grew up.

We learned to take responsibility ~ “Keep your desk clean” still brings back a smile to my face when I think about it.  Taking this many steps further…I view this as “owning up to your mistakes”, showing humility and recognizing the fact that we are not perfect but have the ability to work on our developmental areas without fear of failure.

We learned to be punctual ~   School Bell Rang, you better be in line!  We had time limits on various projects and many of us became expert on our “to do” lists long before we knew what a “to do” list was.

We learned to Pay Attention & Follow Directions ~ One of the toughest grades for myself and most of my friends was in Self-Control.  If you went to catholic school in the 60’s, you probably have some battle wounds on your knuckles to prove it. 

We learned to Deal with Peer Pressure ~ There was the “in-group” and those of us outside it.  Be it sports, social groups or other circles, there was always social clicks forming. In most businesses today, there appears to be similar groupings.  We learned to select what was important based on our needs and hopefully not mindlessly following certain people.

Elementary school was a sensitive time for everyone. A lot of our likes and dislikes were formed during this period of time. It’s when we became absorbed into a mini-society, learning valuable life lessons that have remained through adulthood

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