Saturday, November 7, 2009

All I need to know I learned in Kindergarten

I remember reading this book ages ago.  I really enjoyed the premise back then, and I still enjoy it now.  The author's premise is that what is taught in kindergarten really are just the things we need to continue to do as we get older.  We need to say "please" and "thank you." Personally, I think this simple point has been all too long forgotten.  We need to wash our hands after using the toilet.  We need to get enough sleep, eat a snack mid day, and make sure to not only work hard, but to play hard, too.

I got into an epic fight with a friend of mine a few days ago. Or I should say, yet another fight. This friend is unstable so I tend to give him a bit more slack than other friends.  I've lent this friend a significant amount of money and I've also sent him needed goods in order for him to have gainful employment (such as waterproof pants and jacket, panniers, tires and liners for his bike). I've even purchased his groceries a few times when he was very down on his luck.  Okay, fine. I have received a thank you for this. A verbal one. I've yet to receive one cent of the loan back, and I honestly don't expect to, but I haven't forgotten it, either.  So the fight: this friend begins to tell me of his favorite gift to get friends and how his friends just love his gifts.  He's told me of other things he's gotten for his friends, too. T-shirts and other small items.  This is also a friend who DEMANDS attention on his birthday and is mortally hurt if his birthday is overlooked or forgotten, but who has done nothing for my own birthday.  During the conversation, I ask this friend if he considers me a friend. "Oh yes, a very, very good friend!" was his answer.  I'm wondering to myself if I should be bothered that he's telling me about these gifts he's gotten other friends, but that he's never bothered to get me a gift. Oh, wait, let me correct that. After another "birthday fight" where he chewed me out for ignoring his birthday and I came back with "why should I bother, you never do anything for my birthday? I might consider doing something if I got the same consideration back" he got me a gift certificate to REI which I used towards buying a new bike helmet.

     Long story made shorter: I got pissed that he was telling me about all these gifts he got for his friends when he's done nothing for me but give me headaches.  This reminded me of the kindergarten learning of if you invite someone to your birthday party, you have to invite the whole class.  Don't tell me what a wonderful gift giver you are if I've never been the recipient of one of your gifts. It's rude and hurts people's feelings.  If I give a person a gift, I expect a thank you. I expect a spontaneous thank you and perhaps, if the gift was especially nice, I'd appreciate hearing how much you have enjoyed it over the years.  This request is nothing out of the ordinary. It's what we all learned in kindergarten, just some of us need to return to class for a refresher once in a while.

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