The third from 7 habits by Stephen Covey Summary
Habit #1: Be Proactive
Habit #2: Begin With the End in Mind
Habit #3: Put First Things First
Habit #4: Think Win-Win
Habit #5: Seek First to Understand…Then to be Understood
Habit #6: Synergise
Habit #7: Sharpen the Saw
Habit #3: Put First Things First
The third habit is all about developing ways to turn the mission statement into a family constitution. Although we may say that family is a priority in our lives, we often reveal by the way we live that this is not the case. Why? Firstly, it could be that we are not really connected to our deepest priorities. We are so easily driven, enticed or derailed by other things. The role of parenting is a sacred role – when we are finished our career in the work place we will still be parents. Secondly, it could be that our society is working against the family. Much has changed during the past 50 years, including popular culture, laws, the economy, technology, etc. Shifts in the meta-structures are dislocating everything. If we are going to prioritise family in the world today, we are going to have to create structures that will help.
There are two structures that are essential:
1. Weekly Family Time
We need a specific time set aside each week just for the family. The following things can happen during this time: review the calendar for the coming week; discuss issues and problems affecting the family (get suggestions and make decisions); have a talent show; shave a devotion or lesson and pray and sing together. This covers the four main ingredients of a successful family time: planning; teaching; problem-solving; and having fun. The time should cover all four needs: physical, social, mental and spiritual. It could start out as just a family dinner together
2. One-on-One Bonding Time
The second structure to put in place is a time to be completely present with each family member, each week. This is where the real work of family is done; where the deepest nurturing of heart and soul takes place, where the most significant sharing, the most profound teaching and the deepest bonding takes place. Husbands and wives need a retreat time where they can get away from the children and plan their future. Parents need a time with each child where they create the agenda.
Covey uses the analogy from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People of trying to fit rocks, stones, sand and water into a jar (in that order). Unless we get the rocks in first, we will never get them in. If we put the advance prevention time into building relationships and investing in unifying and organising our families we will spend less time trying to mend broken relationships, save marriages, or influence children who are being powerfully influenced by social forces outside the family.
One of the best ways to do this is to organise around our most important roles – creating goals for each role. We need to ensure that the roles of father/mother and husband/wife are clearly indicated in our weekly schedules and see to it that we achieve the goals we have set for the week.
A powerful quote from this chapter follows: "The song that I came to sing remains unsung. I have spent my days in stringing and unstringing my instrument. We're busy – incredibly busy. We're going through the motions. But we never seem to reach the level of life where the music happens."
Follow the next habits next week… Blessed.. Enjoy!! Let's Build our family 🙂
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