Stephen R. Covey, who passed away in July of 2012, wrote many books which caused the reader to think about and look at life differently. The 8th Habit from Effectiveness to Greatness was certainly such a book for me. In it he talks about the purpose of life as finding your voice and helping others find their voice. Often as he would speak to large groups of people, and he would start out by asking 2 key questions:
1) How many honestly believe that the vast majority of the people in your organizations possess more intelligence, more talent, more capability, more creativity, more resourcefulness than their present jobs require or even allow them to use?
Think about it. Replace “in your organization” with: in your family; in your school, in your work place; in your business; in your community. The answer is quite evident – YES, absolutely!
2) How many feel pressure to produce more for less (and with less)?
Again the answer seems quite obvious – EVERYONE! The demands of this age of information and constant connectedness seems to demand more from all of us in every aspect of our lives. Children are no exception! It is estimated that a quarter of school-age children have sleep problems. It is difficult for them to shut down the noise in their heads.
As Covey says, when you put the two questions together, “you get the dilemma in which we live.”
So it is in education where we occasionally touch a small part of the genius that exists within our children. The talents most admired in the traditional school system are actually quite narrow in scope. So it is a double whammy! Students do not realize their gifts until much later (or never), and they feel like they are some way inferior because they are not strong in the academic area.
Many authors and educators agree with Covey when he writes: “We are operating on an industrial age paradigm. The industrial age was an age of control. The age we are in now, the information age, the knowledge age is the age of release. The industrial age is one of machines and technology, the information age is one of people, empowerment, the whole person – body, mind, heart, and spirit.”
He describes the 4 as follows:
BODY – physical needs, economic engine, goods and services
MIND – Talents, gifts, what are you good at?
HEART – Passion, what do you love doing, what excites you, what do you not need to be motivated by someone else?
SPIRIT – Conscience, what you think you should do.
When there is unity and harmony between the four you have VOICE! Imagine a world where your children are free to be the very best they can be – WHY NOT?