Habit 7 – Sharpen the Saw – (Part 4 – It’s Me Time – The Mind) – Teens

The Mind is one of our most valuable body parts which we often take for granted. Covey says that reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. He gives a list of 20 examples on how to expand our mind on page 218 of his ‘Teens’ book.


  • To care for your brain is to sharpen the saw mentally. Make a list of skills or talents you enjoy or might like to learn. (E.g. chess)
  • What new skill can you commit to learn in the next month?
  • Interview someone you admire and would like to know more about. Ask about his or her life, challenges, successes, history, and interests. Make your own list of questions; e.g. “What made you decide to become a …?”
  • Share your interview with the class or a group of classmates. What did you learn from your interview?

Habit 7 – Sharpen the Saw – (Part 3)

Sharpening the saw physically is not limited just to physical exercise. Think about the food you eat. Here’s a plan to help you sharpen your saw regarding nutrition. Answer each of the following questions, then your plan will be set and waiting for you to take action. (Body, Mind, Heart, and Soul) (Refer to p. 209)


  1. What foods did you eat last weekend that were not healthy for your body?
  2. How can you change your eating habits?
  3. Now, create a plan that will help you focus on good nutritional habits.

Habit 7 – Sharpen the Saw – Teens (part 2)

The previous lesson on Habit 7, yesterday was about you understanding that Sharpen the Saw means continual self-improvement. Your activity was to make two lists, one, things you like to do to keep yourself physically sharp, and two, the things you’d like to do. In this lesson, we’d like to challenge you to choose a few items on your list and write them in the spaces under “Activity” on a chart with 3 columns. The second column is about you making a plan for when, where and how you want to do them, and the third column is about you deciding how long, the length of time you want to spend doing each activity. Once you have completed your chart, find an accountability partner, someone who you and the person partner to keep each other on task. Place your chart somewhere you will see daily as a reminder. (See page 208 – The 7 Habits of Effective Teens)


ACTIVITY.                      WHEN, WHERE, HOW.               LENGTH OF TIME

Habit 6 – Synergize – Together is Better – Happy Kids

Covey talks about how his family uses synergy every day for 15 minutes after a family meal, calling it the “15 minute program”. He says they each pitch in to clear away the meal. That’s what synergy is: valuing differences and then working together to create a better solution than what anyone could do alone. It’s when 1+1=3 or more. Covey’s story about soccer is an excellent example of synergy when the characters of the 7 Oaks gang agreed to Sophie’s idea to play the game based on each character’s unique strengths. I certainly see a benefit to teaching this habit to our students. Soccer is probably the number one sport that causes conflict on our elementary school playgrounds. Soccer seems to draw out the “bad guy” in our students even though they would all say that we should treat each other with respect.


  1. Write down 3 things that you’re really good at. Then write down 3 things someone else you know is good at. (Brother, sister, friend, classmate)
  2. Watch a sports team play a sport you like. Jot down all the ways you see “synergy” shown by the players.
  3. In pairs or 3’s, create a chart with a column for “Good Team Members” and a column of “Bad Team Members.”
  4. In groups of 3 or 4, create a plan for each of the your group members’ jobs when doing and presenting a project such as science, social studies, theatre, etc.

Habit 7 – Sharpen the Saw – Teens

Keep Hope Alive! Kid, You’ll Move Mountains!

Habit 7 is all about keeping your personal self sharp so that you can better deal with life. It means regularly renewing and strengthening the four key dimensions of your life – Your Body – the physical dimension with exercise, eating healthy, sleeping well, and relaxing; Your Brain – the mental dimension by reading, educating, writing, and learning new skills; Your Heart – the emotional dimension, by building relationships (RBA,PBA), volunteering, and laughing, and Your Soul – the spiritual dimension, by meditation, keeping a journal, praying, and taking in quality media. It’s very important to balance all 4 dimensions because each dimension will affect the other three.


It’s Me Time – Make a plan to help you sharpen your saw physically. Answer each of the question listed below, then your plan will be set and waiting for you to take action. What physical activities do you like to do? Are there any Activities you haven’t tried, but would like to? Make a list.

Like to Do.                                                    Want to Try.

Habit 5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood – Listen Before You Talk – Happy Kids

Human beings want to be heard. We act out in various ways to be heard, some cry, some scream, some tantrum, some hit or stomp, etc. but we act out. For sure, the deepest need of the human heart is to be understood. In school we’re taught how to read, write and speak. But we’re not taught how to listen, which is the most important communication skill of all. Listening with our ears isn’t good enough, because less than 10 % of communication is the words we use. The rest comes from body language and the tone and feelings reflected in our voice. Why not teach our kids how to listen while they’re young? The story about Jumper is a great example of how to really listen.


  1. After reading the story, ask the kids to retell the story in their own words (paraphrase) and express what they heard about the tone and feelings reflected by the characters. (Try this with other stories).
  2. Try to go a whole hour without talking. Instead watch the people around you and listen to what they are saying. Good Luck!
  3. Who is someone in your life who really listens. What do they do that makes you think they are good listeners?
  4. The next time someone you know is really sad, notice her eyes and the body language. Tell them you know they are sad and ask how you can help.

Habit 6 – Synergy – Teamwork & Synergy – Teens (pp. 200 – 201)

Great teams are usually made up of 5 or more different types of people, with each member playing a different but important role. Notice the following descriptors which are so similar to our unique differences as human beings, bringing diversity & Harmony to Teamwork.

  • PLODDERS – (Power) Sure and steady, they stick a job until it’s done.
  • FOLLOWERS – (Belonging & Freedom) They are very supportive of leaders. If they hear a great idea, they can run with it.
  • INNOVATORS – (Freedom) They are the creative, the idea people. They offer the sparks.
  • HARMONIZERS – (Belonging & Power) They provide unity and support and are great synergizers as they work with others and encourage   cooperation.
  • SHOW-OFFS – (Fun)Fun to work with, they can be tough at times. They often add the spice and momentum needed to bring the team overall success.


  • This week, look around you and notice how much synergy is going on all around you, such as two hands working together, Teamwork, symbiotic relationships in nature, and creative problem solving. Journal what you notice each day.
  • Create a chart of the above 5 Descriptors. Under each column, write the names of students in your classroom, your family, your sports team, etc. Work in groups or individually. Post on a wall in your home, classroom, or community centre.

Habit 6 – Synergize – Activity on Getting to Synergy (Teens)


ACTION PLAN 🙋🏽‍♂️🤷‍♀️


↖   THEIR WAY – (Seek first to understand the ideas of others.)

↗   MY WAY – (Seek to be understood by sharing your ideas.)

💡   BRAINSTORM – (Create new options and ideas.)

⬆   HIGH WAY – (Find the best solutions.)


  • Either individually or in small groups – Think of a conflict you have had with your parents, your sibling, or your peers and use the ACTION PLAN above to see how it works. Write down each step and share with the class. Hand in for marks!
  • See the sample on pp. 195-200 – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

Food Contemplations for Young People

Some invites the bell before the following food contemplations are read to the young people. (A bell is a beautiful way to signal that it’s time for mindfulness breathing. Children are asked to breathe in slowly and out slowly 3 times)

  • This food is the gift of the whole universe: The earth, the sky, the rain, and the sun.
  • We thank the people who have made this food, especially the farmers, the people at the market and the cooks.
  • We only put on our plate as much food as we can eat.
  • We want to chew the food slowly so that we can enjoy it.
  • This food gives us energy to practice being more loving and understanding.
  • We eat this food in order to be healthy and happy, and to love each other as a family.

After the reading someone invites the bell once more and the young people repeat the 3 breaths in and out. Then the bell is invited once more to indicate it’s okay to have the snack.

The Above mindfulness lesson is from The Plum Village

Listen & Observe

Practice your listening and observation skills by the following baby steps suggested by Sean Covey at the end of Habit 5:

  1. See how long you can keep eye contact with someone while they are talking to you.
  2. Go to the mall, find a seat, and watch people communicate with each other. Observe what their body language is saying.
  3. In your interactions today, try mirroring one person and mimicking another, just for fun. Compare the results.
  4. Ask yourself, “Which of the five poor listening styles do I have the biggest problem with – Spacing out, Pretend Listening, Selective Listening, Word Listening, or Self-Centered Listening (judging, advising, probing)?” Now, try to go one day without doing it.
  5. Some time this week, ask your mom or dad, “How’s it going?” Open up your heart and practice genuine listening. You’ll be surprised by what you learn.
  6. If you’re a talker, take a break and spend your day listening. Only talk when you have to.
  7. The next time you find yourself wanting to bury your feelings deep inside you, don’t do it. Instead, express them in a responsible way.
  8. Think of a situation where your constructive feedback would really help another person. Share It with them when the time is right.