Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sharpening the Saw

Suppose you came upon a man in the woods feverishly sawing down a tree.

“You look exhausted!” you exclaim. “How long have you been at it?”

“Over five hours,” he replies, “and I’m beat. This is hard.”

“Maybe you could take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw. Then the work would go faster.”

“No time,” the man says emphatically. “I’m too busy sawing.”

By Steven R. Covey

This little story has been quietly sitting on the list of quotes that speak to me.  And yet, it hasn't truly entered into me.  I'm not so good at taking a break for a few minutes and sharpening that saw.  I need to really work at that.  Hmm.  Should that be work?  Or should that be rest?  In my heart, I know what feeds my soul.  But my head takes over and the tyranny of "the list" takes over.  This week I sat and simply read for an hour one night.  And I couldn't believe just how much of a break that was - how much it revived me.  My goal is that next week I will try to take some breaks during the workday, and maybe even sit in the staffroom for more than 5 minutes during one of the recesses.  My goal is that I will sharpen the saw so that the work I do can be of more benefit to those around me.

I do know that stopping to think of the gifts of the day also helps to sharpen my saw.  The list continues.  (My students have far surpassed my list.  Last I saw they were over 1030.  And this since September.  A few have really latched onto the concept.)

601) the colours and promise of a beautiful sunrise
602) inspiring keynote speaker
603) time with colleagues
604) new ideas springing from workshops and speakers
605) the mystery and beauty of fog shrouding the prairie landscape
606) having time to chat with a friend
607) hospitality shared with me
608) a wonderful walk with friends by a lake on a beautiful autumn day
609) breakfast and a movie with loved ones
610) spending time with one of my sisters at the teachers convention
611) time to appreciate creative gifts at an art show
612) a sunny, crisp autumn walk
613) Sunday afternoon phone call with my parents
614) the heartfelt prayers of children
615) dinner and conversation with friends
616) parent volunteers
617) a day in the mountains with students
618) seeing students appreciate and encourage each other
619) seeing students demonstrate fascination with God's creation
620) the warmth of a school bus after a cold and windy day outside
621) being the one caught in traffic and not the one involved in the accident
622) watching students help each other
623) students who want to learn and who accept responsibility for learning
624) planting orange tulip bulbs in memory of a special young man
625) a weekend with one of my sisters
626) harvesting carrots with children

627) watching 2 children run excitedly to give my sister a hug
628) spontaneous invitation for dinner
629) celebrating Reformation Day with a combined church service
630) standing in the peaceful woods, feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, and hearing water gurgling over stones

631) sunshine sparkling on water which flows through golden grasses

632) a gift of soup for dinner
633) dinner with family members
634) sitting beside a young boy who is delighted to show me a computer game
635) hugs in the hallway
636) laughing with students over unplanned jokes
637) a meaningful illustration in chapel
638) conversations with parents of students - working together towards a common goal
639) a lesson/activity which goes exceptionally well, and having an administrator walk in during that time
640) big, fluffy snowflakes that make you want to catch them on your tongue
641) sunshine that melts the frost on the car
642) being able to help a young girl and lend her shoes to wear home (and that she knew she could come to me for help)

1 comment:

  1. I am particularly fond of #639!