Sharpening the saw is the last of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The lumberjack who stops every so often to sharpen his saw blades is able to harvest more lumber, experience less frustration is his work, and finds peace amidst his labor. For those of us who aren’t lumberjacks, we are sharper in our studies, calmer amidst daily routines, and less likely to be anxious about what we did or didn’t get done each day. By sharpening our heart, mind, body, and soul we become healthier, happier, and more capable people. In his book, The Rhythm of Life, Matthew Kelly shares how these four elements of our humanity balance our lives and nurture overall well-being.
Our heart is sharpened when we enjoy carefree timelessness with the people we love. build relationships through service, laughter, and learning to care for others.Taking care of our body demands sufficient sleep, eating healthy, and exercise.Our mind is stretched when we read good books, write, study a new skill, and create something.Our soul is nourished when we frequent the classroom of silence with personal journaling, prayer, meditation, or listening to good music.
Our lives demand so much of our time and energy, but without a timeout, we have burnout. Teaching this principle habit to our children is subtle, yet critical. If they are constantly busy with scheduled activities and never intentionally spend time sharpening their saw they will likely spend their lives (as many adults do) chasing life and not living it.Teaching and Learning Frequent sharpening of the saw for peace of mind is also a powerful principle for teaching and learning. The whole purpose of “studying” is to sharpen a thought, skill, procedure, or talent. What we practice, we get good at.
Every time we encourage and assist our children with homework, they are sharpening neurons. Repetition can never be repeated too much 🙂  Our brains require repetition. In his book, Brain Rules, John Median teaches why repetition and moving information from short term to long term memory is essential to learning. We ought not to hesitate to remind our child about what they should think and what they should do. Do so with a firm, fair, and friendly disposition to assure that the message is one of love and care, but don’t ever hesitate to repeat a message that hasn’t been learned yet.
The more we hear the truth the more likely we will remember it. This doesn’t mean that we should sound like a broken record during a disciplining episode. When a message is clear and your child doesn’t respond, take appropriate action and make sure that there is a natural and logical consequence for the misbehavior. If the next day the behavior returns then repeat yourself. Neurons that fire together wire together if we hear and think them often enough. It is also important that they not just hear the message from you, but they say it themselves. Hearing it and speaking it will wire more neural pathways.
Sow a thought, reap an act Sow an act, reap a habit Sow a habit, reap a character Sow a character, reap a destiny!
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