At the grade school my kids attend, there’s a sign on the inside of the kindergarten classroom door. (See photo.) Every time I see it, it makes me laugh. Sure, it’s written for 5- to 6-year-olds, yet it’s so incredibly brilliant. It reads:
Kindergarten Peace Plan:
2. Think about solutions.
3. Shake and agree.
The best touch is the visual next to point No. 3: two paper cut-out hands, one light-skinned, the other dark-skinned, shaking hands with a word balloon that says, “Yes!”
At a recent Parent’s Night, the teachers explained the reason for the sign — that you can’t start too soon with the development of social skills.
One of the teachers made the comment, “Parents, you’re all in business. You hire people for their knowledge and skills. You fire them because they don’t get along with people.”
Boom. Case closed.
There should be kindergarten peace plan signs everywhere. Along the borders of warring countries. In the chambers of Congress. And especially in the conference rooms of ad agencies, where warring words are often heard:
“That’s a stupid idea.”
“If you said it, it must be bad.”
“The client’s never right.”
“How can you be so stupid?”
“We tried that once before. It failed. Give it up.”
“You never have anything good to say.”
“That will never fly!”
“Who made you king?”
The inability to get along will doom any project. That inability is invariably rooted in ego. Yes, childish ego.
Hence the beauty of this plan: the simple act of awareness surrounding conflict and the ability to resolve it quickly. All for the sake of peace on the playground – or better ideas at work.
If we could all behave like 6-year-olds, our work might be a whole lot better.