Put First Things First

We manage what we do, we don’t manage our time. Time management is a misnomer. Time is what it is; seconds, minutes, hours… There is no stopping it. Our success and happiness are dependent on what we do with our time. Making choices about what we do with each hour is what we really have control over. Putting first things first is a conscious choice to and a proactive approach to our day. There is a multitude of things we can do each minute of the day and without thinking too much we can find ourselves entrenched into something that may not have much value to our personal or professional well-being. Successful students and people recognize how they are spending their time and the mind their business. In other words, they put their minds to what is important and push away the distractions the may not be important or urgent.

The Leader In Me system of thinking illustrates this idea nicely with Quadrant Thinking. The matrix below identifies how we spend our time. Unfortunately, quadrants 3 & 4 can swallow up much of our time and we can neglect what is important and urgent and what is important, but not urgent. It is in these two quadrants that most of us would rather spend our time. Interesting that we use the words, “spend our time”. When we look at our day as an opportunity to invest ourselves in life, it is more clear that we would rather spend wisely. Spending our time wisely is fire prevention. Putting my time and energy into growing great kids will suppress many problems in the future.
 

Q2 Thinking is fire prevention!



When we spend most of our time on things that are important but not urgent, we are putting first things first. Parents realize that the urgent and important are also critical and must be attended to, but minding our quadrant 2 business is powerful and forces the mindless tasks to the bottom of our list. See the attached file for a family task tracker to help you and your children put first things first.

Learning Links

Elementary students visit polls on Election Day

Elementary students visit polls on Election Day

Fifth grade students from Almond Acres Charter Academy visited Cuesta College’s polling station on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, to support local voters and learn more about the voting process.  The students are currently investigating what it means to be a great citizen in their community and their country.

While visiting the campus, the students were able to create voting buttons, observe the polling station in action, and interview voters as they walked back toward the parking lot.  Students asked voters why they thought it was important to vote. One interviewee stated that she felt privileged to vote. Her grandmother was a racial minority who didn’t have that right as a young adult.

Students also asked voters why they voted in person.  “Some people said that it was because it is satisfying to vote in person. Some people said it was for the stickers, and some people said they don’t want to vote online [by mail]–they want to feel a part of the process of the voting,” said Tyler Rogall, age 10.  

Almond Acres Charter Academy encourages each student to seek “the leader in me,” a philosophy that leadership can be unique to one’s strengths and personality.  “Every child has their own unique leadership skills,” said AACA Executive Director Bob Bourgault. He explained that taking a field trip to the polls is one way for the fifth graders to provide a service to their community and exercise leadership.  

“This has been a wonderful opportunity for our youth,” said educator, Carrie Fiel.  “At first, they were a bit nervous about interviewing voters, but they quickly put their fears aside once they started having conversations.  This experience has opened their minds so that they can now see the value of voting. One student told me, ‘We’re only eight years away from getting to vote!’  It warmed my heart to see their excitement about being an active part of our country’s future.”

Yerik Martinez, age 10, summed up the voting process: “It means to have a right to speak up, to say what you think is right or wrong.”

Dream Big

If you have no destination in mind, any direction is will work.
We detect rather than invent our mission in life. – Victor Frankl
The old carpenter adage of measuring twice, cutting once reminds us to consider our outcomes before we commit to a decision. Knowing where we are headed on a journey keeps us from heading down the wrong road. Each time we remind our kids about how they are gifted, talented, and unique sends the message that they have a purpose in life and our family, school, and the community would be less without them. Beginning with the end in mind does more than providing a mission and a vision, it can help us to say “no” to the many directions in life that can lead us astray.
Common Thinkers vs. Highly Effective Thinkers
I can’t predict how my life will turn out, so I just go with the flow. (VS) I clearly define my vision and purpose in life and what behaviors will make a difference.
I get started without a clear idea of what I want to achieve. (VS)
I define outcomes before I act.
I let others’ agendas and circumstances define how I live my life. (VS)
I create and live by a personal mission statement.
Happiness and success are not accidents. People who live intentionally achieve the results they want. Being proactive is only the first step in success. Designing a plan that maps the success we hope for is not just effective, it is efficient. Each time our kids set their sights on success and are regularly reminded of goals, the more they take charge of personal achievement and not are subject to the shifting winds of peers and circumstances.
Thinkers who know their mission and practice the habits that lead to the mission are very likely to achieve. Our role as parents and educators is to put the signs up that remind them of their goal and encourage their success with boundaries that will push them back on track. Having conversations with our kids about their short term and long term hopes and dreams are the first steps toward achievement. A mental picture proceeds a physical creation. Take the time to ask your child about his/her goals as they relate to the heart, mind, body, and soul elements of life. Use good questions to help your child find the right answers.
Heart – What defines a “best” friend?
Mind – What things do you love to learn?
Body – How healthy do you want to be in ** years?
Soul – What personal gifts and talents are you most happy about?