There have been several books in my lifetime that have been game changers for me. An early one was The Almighty and the Dollar by Jim McKeever I found about 30 years ago in a Christian bookstore in Salisbury, Maryland. It impacted how a young Toby and I have since managed our personal finances. Another was Nothing’s Impossible by Lorraine Monroe that I would recommend to every school principal as it describes how she turned a struggling New York City school into a showplace for effectiveness. I borrowed heavily from her ideas when I was a principal. In the early 1990s, I read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. It took me a year. I would read a chapter and reflect and reexamine my work and activities. The book was a best seller and is still quoted today. My copy’s pages are heavily underlined with notes written throughout in the margins. The personal mission statement I wrote in 1992 as a result of reading the book is what I strive to live by and review on a weekly basis to this day.
Friday, Boiling Springs Intermediate hosted a trainer from the FranklinCovey Institute who is helping them along their journey of teaching students about those same seven habits. He was good, too, and will be their trainer for the next three years. This training is based on The Leader in Me, Covey’s response to an elementary school principal who asked him if he thought informing her school’s staff and students about these things could make a difference. The anecdotal evidence points to outstanding outcomes in those “Leader in Me” schools as students begin to understand that they have quite a bit of control over the direction their lives take through the process of exercising the seven habits.
Who can argue that it is not a good idea to be proactive, to begin with the end in mind or to put first things first (“I’ll do my homework then go out to play.”)? Isn’t it wise to think win-win, to listen before you speak, and to realize there is power in working together? Even children can understand the value in sharpening the saw and striving for balance in life. Parents and the community want children who are responsible, show initiative, set and go after goals, solve problems and get along with others even from diverse backgrounds.
As BSIS pilots the incorporation of this philosophy into their iteration of our Curriculum Compatible Classrooms (CCC), we will be observing to determine whether or not it is a good idea to further explore and implement. It could be a game changer….