Stephen Covey didn’t believe in retirement. He was still working when he died, last week, aged 79. It was a good death; he fell off his bicycle.
Stephen Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” sold 20 million copies, but it was his book on family life, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families which has been of the most value to me. It gave me an idea which helped me solve a difficult problem in our family life. The problem was what to do about Sunday dinner. Every Sunday we would sit down to a roast dinner as most British families do (or used to). But as the children grew older it became more and more apparent that whilst the grown-ups looked forward to the meal, the children didn’t. We were faced with three grumpy girls, under the age of ten, who didn’t “get” the ritual. Stephen Covey gave me the solution. He said that we should involve children in our decisions about family life. All right then, I thought, we’ll be more democratic, and I came up with the idea of The Choice. Instead of us parents dictating what we would all eat every Sunday, we would take it in turns to decide. Each Sunday would be one person’s Choice, the only proviso being that whoever’s Choice it was, they would have to take part in shopping for the food and cooking the meal. Subject to that, the children would have free reign- if they wanted to choose something as mundane as hamburger and chips they could have it. This idea was hugely popular. The children loved it and couldn’t wait for their turn to come round. There was an unwritten rule that however outlandish the choice we would all welcome it with enthusiasm. Dinner on a Sunday became fun for the first time, and because we parents had our turn as well we could still have Sunday roast if we wanted it. Just not every week.
Thank you Stephen. You lived the Slow Life and helped us to, too.