This is a rather odd discussion I often have
with athletes and to some extent their parents. I think some things we learn
are important and at other times it is just as important to learn to let some
things go. Mental Training is really good at helping athletes with this
process. So if you will indulge me; All I Need to know I learned in Kindergarten-
No wonder I'm messed up!
the Book "All I Really Need To Know I Learned in
Kindergarten" was written in 1988 and through the years has developed sort of a
cultish type of following. It is often quoted as being the basis for what we
know. The rest of our education, both in school and out is just an
addendum. Some use it against our schools and others in support.
Just depending on what they are attempting to challenge. I thought I
would take it from a different perspective, as I don't work with kindergarten
kids; I work with high school athletes and adults.
of the perspectives I have read about this book is in regard to how we really
do learn all of our life skills in our early years. I certainly am not
going to argue that point and that perhaps the rest of our learning experience
is the learning of facts and figures. I would like to discuss however
that not everything we learn at this time is useful to us as human
beings. This is also not meant to be a critique of the school system,
because many of the things we learn at this age are from parents, siblings,
friends as well as teachers.
reason I am looking in this direction is that so many of my clients can trace
some of part of their negative behavior in hockey back to these early
times. Many think that it is an experience they had much later, but let's
take a look at some common experiences in and out of sport.
of my favorite storyteller, singer, and song writer's is the late Harry
Chapin. Most people know him for Taxi. He wrote another song called
"Flowers are Red".
Harry Chapin - Flowers Are Red lyrics | LyricsMode.com
all about how a teacher that criticizes a young boy about his drawings and
takes an energetic, young child with a vivid imagination and crushes his
vitality. I suspect a lot of us have had that person in our lives.
My kindergarten teacher was like that. I drew a lot of people using
triangles for bodies. I was told I was stupid and would never be an
artist. Funny the things we remember. Even some of our really good
teachers didn't always get it right.
mother around that time told me I was an awful writer because I couldn't
spell. Still can't spell. Still feel stupid trying. Spell
check is great... I've heard Richard Bandler speak. He is
the originator of NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming. In one of his
talks he brings up the subject of reading. Why is it that some many
people read slowly? It is mostly because we read the words out loud in
our head. Why? Because our teachers wanted to know that we knew the
words and reciting them out loud was the only way for them to check. If
someone handed you a note and said, "Give me your money or I will blow your
head off", would you recognize the sentence or would you read each word out
loud in your own head.
of how a child is greeted when they come home with an A on their report
card. Parents are proud and boast how smart the child is. When the
child comes home with a B they are also told how great they are and then
(insert here) how with a little extra effort they will get an A. The
child learns that even though their parents were proud of them, it was
different when they got a B. Now I am not saying that we want to tell
children that any grade is acceptable, what I want to show is that even without
saying anything the child learns that one grade and experience is better than
hockey we jump for joy over a kid scoring a goal. Some of us will tell a
player how great their assist was, and few will talk about the great defense
their kid showed. So players learn what it takes to get the love they
want, sometimes to the detriment of the team. They are unhappy even with
a good game when they have not scored.
know baseball players that sulk every time they strike out. It is not
their competitive spirit. It is because they still hear their t-ball coach
, parent, or team mate telling them that if they walk away happy they are not a
competitor. I've known runners that have wanted to quit because of a bad
race, because somewhere inside them is a voice that says, you did not perform
to our expectations, you are a bad child. I spend a lot of time
helping athletes that are still trying to please a parent, early coach or
friend, instead of working towards a developmental or team goal.
of course carries forward in our adult lives when sales people are afraid of
not making a sale; managers afraid to fire bad employees; accountants so anal
that they slow a business down because one time when they were young they got a
decimal place wrong. I'm not suggesting we leave out the decimal place,
but we do need to move forward and we have computer programs to check those
while "All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten" is likely true, it
is also true that all of the other things that are not all that helpful in life,
I also learned in those early school years. I am not even talking about
bad teachers and bad parents. I'm talking about the good ones that
inadvertently influenced out lives.
in truth as I tell many of the athletes and people I work with I do not care if
you hate your mother or father. (You can see I am not a psychotherapist).
I am concerned with the here and now. How can I help you with your
performance today? So while it is useful to understand these memories, it
is not really necessary. If you are looking to affect change in your
life, you must abandon holding on to them. Acknowledge them and let them
not always easy. It's taken me 32 years to finish my book, The
Athlete within You. "All because I couldn't spoll." Err SPELL.
You can purchase my book, "The
Athlete within You from my bookstore at a
discount using code 4ZHURJA4. Mike's Bookstore
It is also available
from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Please see my web site for information on
my helping your team. I'm working with two Jr A teams this coming year and have
room on the calendar for two maybe three more. I don't help competing teams
within a league. Be the first you your league to get the Mental Game Advantage. TheMental-Game
All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Robert
Fulghum. New York: Villard Books, 1988.