Sunday, September 13, 2009
Words of Wisdom
During the course of the school year, I read a lot of selections to my students from various books by Robert Fulghum, author of All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Generally, we will write about them, and occasionally these short pieces generate some nice personal essays. One of my favorites comes from Fulghum's time studying Zen buddhism in a Japanese monastery. Upon Fulghum's leaving, the zen master reads to him the following proverb:
There is really nothing you must be,
And there is nothing you must do.
There is really nothing you must have,
And there is nothing you must know.
There is really nothing you must become.
However, it helps to know that fire burns,
and, when it rains, the earth gets wet.
This sort of sentiment and insight is especially important for teenagers during these years of the search for identity and autonomy. Hopefully, as the country seeks its identity, the course of the future will be influenced by such level-headed wisdom.