Kindergarten Civics

Can you think of any empire in history that didn’t rise to greatness as a result of it’s citizens being productive, working together, and utilizing their resources efficiently and creatively? Not just one individual, but all able-citizens. Whether engaged in commerce or war, these seem to have consistently been the keys to building power.

Now imagine the first day of kindergarten. Imagine if we taught the children that the most important ideal was their individual freedom. And, not just allow, but insist that they develop on their own. If anyone tried to share or borrow we accused them of being weak. How productive would those children be in their lifetime if they were never shown how to learn and work together?

That is why, in kindergarten, we are taught the most important civics lessons: be polite, respectful and share. I don’t know a single person who disagrees with these basic guidelines for living. These things are not capitalist or socialist ideals, they are the building blocks of society. We are all at the mercy of each other and when one person disrupts the class by not following these simple tenets, we all lose a little bit of learning time that day.

What is at stake is not rightness or wrongness, it’s the opportunity to grow up. It really doesn’t matter how right you are if you are not capable of following basic kindergarten rules. We all reach maturity by being dragged along – typically against our will – but, eventually, we learn how to work and grow with others, dragging our own self to do the right thing against our own human nature. We become productive individuals and good classmates all at once. That is when our freedom begins, once we’ve earned it.

And just like money, freedom that isn’t earned makes us all poorer in the end.