FranklinCovey Consultant Blogs | Todd Wangsgard | Something Fun
In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey recounts a story about turning over the yard-care responsibilities at his house to his young son. “Green and clean,” he explains, are the criteria for success in this new job. When after 2 weeks his son still hasn’t fully accepted the responsibility of this new assignment, Stephen shares a moment of exasperation when he reminds himself of the deeper purpose of his calling as a father – “Raise boys, not grass.” This story came to mind recently, during a moment of frustration of my own.
Monday morning, I found myself in the middle of a steep learning curve, pretending to be a stone mason. I was with my 9-year-old son, Conner, at the house my father is single-handedly remodeling (re-building, is perhaps more accurate) to help Dad finish up the stone façade that would decorate the front of his house. He and Conner were about 75% finished affixing the beautifully cut faux stones to the wall and had asked me to squeeze freshly mixed mortar out of what amounts to an over-sized cake decorating cone into the spaces between the stones. This also requires smoothing out the mortar with a skinny trowel, attempting to even out any lumps and fill in all the gaps. Believe me – this was harder than it sounds.
About 20 minutes into my effort, the thought crossed my mind, “Gee! Why don’t we just hire a couple day-laborers with masonry experience to come and do this; then the three of us can go do something fun?!” We could have been doing anything more fun than working on the house, such as hiking, fishing, or carousing at the local amusement park. This thought no sooner crossed my mind, when it occurred to me what we were really engaged in. This wasn’t just about the work that needed to be done on the house. My dad would certainly not be set back in his construction progress, if Conner and I hadn’t spent those measly 2 ½ hours helping out. Instead, this was much more about building something together. This was about creating a lasting, tangible monument of sorts. This was, more importantly, about learning lessons of hard work and building relationships between three generations of Wangsgards.
Besides, doing something constructive with his hands is my dad’s idea of fun. And to be accompanied by his son and grandson in the process is something he’d much rather do than spend the day engaged in more shallow forms of amusement.
What are you building today? What is the state of your most important relationships? In what ways can you more efficiently “sharpen the saw” and satisfy the need for renewal in all four human dimensions: physical, mental, social/emotional and spiritual?
On second thought, I enjoy “masonry!” There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than molding the mortar of time into the spaces between my most precious possessions – my family, friends, colleagues, and clients.