The last 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 #7: Sharpen the Saw
Anything left alone will disintegrate until it reaches it most elemental form – this is called entropy. Unless we consciously attend to our family it will become disordered and deteriorate. We must be making constant deposits into the Emotional Bank Account to just keep it where it is now. To improve it still further we need to find more creative deposits that we can make. Covey draws on the sharpening the saw analogy to suggest that we need to engage in regular family renewal, by creating traditions that will grow the family. He suggests the following:
1. Family dinner – having a regular mealtime together is important. These are times of sharing and teaching.
2. Family vacation – the family is renewed when we plan, anticipate and take a holiday.
3. Birthdays – as we create traditions around birthdays, we express love and affirm family members.
4. Holidays – special days like Christmas and Easter can be used to develop renewing traditions.
5. Intergenerational activities – many activities lend themselves to larger family involvement.
6. Learning together – a shared interest should be found that family members can learn about.
7. Worshipping together – this could be at corporate worship gathering or in family devotions.
8. Working together – doing things around the home together.
9. Serving together – working on projects together bring meaning and fulfilment.
10. Having fun together – enjoying each other and the home environment.
These are activities that bond, unify and renew the family socially, mentally, physically and spiritually.
Covey has one final chapter in which he draws together various insights from his different books. Here is a summary of the chapter.
The 7 habits are all about pro-activity. A family functions at one of four levels:
1. Survival – here it is fighting to survive economically, mentally, socially or spiritually.
2. Stability – the family moves past survival and reaches a state where it is stable and dependable.
3. Successful – here the family starts to accomplish worthy goals together.
4. Significant – here the family is involved in something meaningful outside of itself. They have a sense of stewardship and responsibility to humankind.
This is a movement from a problem-solving approach to a creating approach. To move a family from survival to significance involves four family roles:
1. Modelling – what our children see in us speaks more loudly than anything we say.
2. Mentoring – this is building relationships, investing in the Emotional Bank Account. It is letting people know that we care about them, and championing them. How do we do this?
(a) empathise – listen with your heart to their heart.
(b) Share insights, learning, emotions and convictions.
(c) Affirm them with validation, appreciation and convictions.
(d) Pray for and with them.
(e) Sacrifice for them.
3. Organising – the family must be organised if it is to accomplish what it is trying to do. Effective systems and structures must be developed to help it accomplish what is truly important. This reminds us of the family mission statement that we have set and the structures to realise our mission, ie. things like weekly family time and one-on-one bonding.
4. Teaching – this involves finding teaching moments to empower family members so they develop the internal capacity and skills to live effectively.
Covey speaks of principle-centered family leadership:
1. Setting an example of trustworthiness – modelling
2. Building relationships of respect and caring – mentoring
3. Aligning our structures to our mission – organising
4. Teaching empowering principles – teaching
The four basic needs of humans relate to the four roles and the four unique human gifts:
Needs Role Gifts
1. To Learn (mental) Teaching Imagination
2. To Live (physical/economic) Organising Independent will
3. To Love (social/emotional) Mentoring Self-awareness
4. To Leave a Legacy (spiritual) Modelling Conscience
As we model our family will see our example and learn to trust us; as we mentor they feel our unconditional love and begin to value themselves; as we organise they experience order in their lives and they grow to trust our family structures to meet their needs; and as we teach they hear and do and they learn to trust principles and themselves.
This is the last habits… Blessed.. Enjoy!! Let's Build our family 🙂