HABIT 7: SHARPEN THE SAW
If done properly, consistently and in a balanced way, Habit 7 will cultivate all of the other six habits and keep them strong and vibrant. How? Simply, by using them in renewing activities-especially, family traditions. That’s what we mean by “sharpening the saw.”
Traditions give family members a sense of belonging, of being understood, of being supported, of being committed to something that’s greater than self. And the family renews the emotional energy of a tradition every time they revisit it.
Think of all the opportunities for fulfilling traditions:
Family dinners You may have only one good meal together each week, but if it is meaningful and fun, the family table can become more of an altar than an eating counter.
Family vacations Planning for a vacation, anticipating it and thinking about it-as well as laughing about the fun times and the dumb times we had on past vacations-are enormously rewarding to our family.
Extended and intergenerational family activities Aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and other extended family members can have a tremendous positive influence. Broaden almost any activity, such as Sunday dinner, to include them.
Worshipping together Research shows that shared worship is one of the characteristics of healthy, happy families. It can create context, unity and mutual understanding- much in the same way that a family mission statement does.
Serving together This tradition can be tremendously renewing. Can you imagine anything more bonding, more unifying, more energizing than working together to accomplish something that is really meaningful and worthwhile?
Working together There are many ways to create the tradition of working together, at home or in a parent’s place of business-and many benefits of doing it. Our daughter Catherine remembered:
One tradition we had in our family was the “ten-minute program.” That meant that everyone would work really hard for ten minutes to clean up the house. We all knew that if we had eighteen hands working, it would go a lot faster than two.
We also had “work parties.” We’d work really hard for three or four hours to get something done, but we’d have food and laugh and talk as we worked. We’d also do something fun after, like go to a movie. Everyone expected they’d have to work. It was just part of life. But it was so much better with these little treats.
As your family works together on Habit 7 and all the other habits, remember: Like a new pair of glasses or a new, more accurate map – the 7 Habits framework can help you to see and communicate more clearly, and will help you to arrive where you, as a family, want to go.