Friday, January 23, 2015

Sharpen the Saw

The second semester is rolling.  Middle-of-the-year benchmarks are done.  Data is ready for analysis.  The end of January is when the gas peddle hits the floor and time seems to fly.  It is also when the typical teacher experiences a bit of stress as testing time approaches and some of the kiddos aren't progressing as planned.

If you have done this for a few years, and felt this way for a few years, you know that the stress will wane and you will make it through this time.  Say this to yourself, "I will make it through this time of year because I have done it before."

Then ask yourself, "How will I make it better for my students and for myself?"

One of your answers to this question must be, "I will sharpen my saw!"

Dr. Covey explains Habit #7 so well:

Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have--you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual. Here are some examples of activities:

Physical:Beneficial eating, exercising, and resting
Social/Emotional:Making social and meaningful connections with others
Mental:Learning, reading, writing, and teaching
Spiritual:Spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through meditation, music, art, prayer, or service

As you renew yourself in each of the four areas, you create growth and change in your life. Sharpen the Saw keeps you fresh so you can continue to practice the other six habits. You increase your capacity to produce and handle the challenges around you. Without this renewal, the body becomes weak, the mind mechanical, the emotions raw, the spirit insensitive, and the person selfish. Not a pretty picture, is it?

Feeling good doesn't just happen. Living a life in balance means taking the necessary time to renew yourself. It's all up to you. You can renew yourself through relaxation. Or you can totally burn yourself out by overdoing everything. You can pamper yourself mentally and spiritually. Or you can go through life oblivious to your well-being. You can experience vibrant energy. Or you can procrastinate and miss out on the benefits of good health and exercise. You can revitalize yourself and face a new day in peace and harmony. Or you can wake up in the morning full of apathy because your get-up-and-go has got-up-and-gone. Just remember that every day provides a new opportunity for renewal--a new opportunity to recharge yourself instead of hitting the wall. All it takes is the desire, knowledge, and skill.