During our Leader in Me lesson, Habit 3, Put First Things First, asks us to just that, to put first those things in our lives that are super important.

There a video out there of Steven Covey with a volunteer on stage and he’s got all these “big rocks” spray painted and labeled with things like “important meeting”, “family time”, “vacation”, and various other things that are important to us all. Then he’s got a big jar of tiny little rocks and he asks his volunteer to put those big rocks into the jar, basically saying, “Here’s your everyday life, now fit the important stuff in.” Obviously, she fails, and he talks about how you need to “change your paradigm”. He pulls out a second big jar and asks her, “What can you do differently?”


She pauses, then the light bulb moment. She takes her big rocks, those things that are very important in her life, and she puts them into the jar first. Then she takes the everyday stuff of life: the cooking, the driving to work, the brushing of teeth, all those little rocks and pours them in. Of course, a few of the rocks fall out, and we learned that this is not a bad thing. If we aren’t are our phones as much, not gaming as much, not doing those daily things as much, that’s ok. However, if we are spending less time on the daily things to do those things that are truly important, it’s a win-win for all.

So, today, we are starting the habit of writing down our Big Rocks at the beginning of the week. We’ll do this from now until the of the school year, helping the students create the habit of looking at themselves and what is really important in their lives. They are sixth graders, so they whine or roll their eyes or BOTH! Goodness! 🙂 However, they did it.

Many of our students understand Habit 3. Their Big Rocks include family, friends, health (a couple put getting enough sleep), faith (both religious and in themselves), play (outside and gaming), and the list goes on. They do understand this habit, but they don’t put in truly in their lives. This is based on personal observation of attitude, effort, and how they treat others around them. This type of habit takes time and practice, something we’ll do weekly. My hope, some WILL see the practice of Putting First Things First, putting their Big Rocks first in their lives as something that is worthwhile. My hope is they not only understand, but put it into their lives.

If this happens with just a few, I’ll feel successful. Why? Because seeing that goal and putting those things that will help you meet that goal first, that’s huge.

And if a sixth grader can do it, we all can do it!


My three big rocks: health (at least 6 hours of sleep), wife/family (keep working on staying connected), school (work on being efficient with my time)

If these can happen, the rest of my life will fall into place. Just like with my students, it’s all about focus: health, family, and school.