The Beauty of Kindergarten

Robert Fulghum had it right. All I ever really needed to know I learned in kindergarten. After high school it was really about learning more and more about less and less. I became specialized. An expert. But when I was ready to enter the world after academia, I knew I could not do it alone. I had the support of my wife, my parents, and the O’Dells (Kristin’s Godparents and the only two people in Houston that we knew – the city where we decided to raise our family).  

Has my education served me well? That is a very poignant question right now as Kristin and try to have discussions about this with our incoming senior at Memorial High School. Mackenzie was born while I was in school at Texas A&M, and has been with us both for our career journeys. What has she observed? A Dad – a registered Professional Engineer with a Masters in Civil Engineering who is on his second career journey as a pastor addressing the social justice issue of transportation, working to address the problems that his education taught him to create. A Mom – with a Bachelors in Education, who has recreated herself in the post Enron world, helping define ways for organizations to be more accountable, and creating new roles for herself successfully within a massive global energy company. No wonder she has been wrestling with what she wants to do. Kristin and I have exemplified a work model of always being flexible, willing to change, challenge ourselves, and be in community with one another and those around us.

And that’s a good thing. Because all the acronyms in the world behind your name don’t mean a thing at the end of the day. When you die you can’t take it with you. But on your life journey you will change, learn, adapt, and can leave behind a legacy. What will be yours? It doesn’t matter the size of the legacy. A legacy doesn’t mean having your name on a building. But what other life (lives) have you made better because you are in theirs? And do they know it? If they do – then there is your legacy.

In the end, Robert Fulghum’s final instructions still hold true, “no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is better to hold hands and stick together.”