7 Habits of Happy Kids
An Overview for Parents
Character Education has always played an important part of the Health curriculum. We now teach character education through The Leader in Me program (incorporating The 7 + 1 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey), as it contains both skill-building and character-based content that addresses students’ personal and school life.
Parents and students can go and find out more information, resources, and games about each of the habits by going on The Leader in Me website.
Habit 1: Be Proactive (I am in charge of myself)
To be proactive is to have the ability to choose your response. This is the opposite of “Reactive”. “Pro” means before and “Re” means after. Proactive people take responsibility for themselves, their actions, their decisions, their moods, and their attitudes.
A proactive person would think the following: I am a responsible person. I take initiative. I choose my actions, attitudes, and moods. I do not blame others for my wrong actions. I do the right thing without being asked, even when no one is looking.
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind (I have a plan)
Know the goal. Know the destination. To begin with the end in mind, means that we start with a clear understanding of our destination. Setting goals provides a roadmap for all of us. If we aim at nothing we will hit it every time.
If you develop this habit you would thing the following: I plan ahead and set goals. I do things that have meaning and make a difference. I am an important part of my classroom and contribute to my school’s vision, and look for ways to be a good citizen.
Habit 3: Put First Things First (I work first, then I play)
Do the most important things first. To put first things first takes willpower, determination and courage. We need to decide what things are really the very most important things in our lives. Then we need to plan how and when we are going to take care of, or do those things. Prioritize, and do the most important things first.
Someone who prioritizes would think the following: I spend my time on things that are most important. That means I say no to things I know I should not do. I set priorities, make a schedule, and follow my plan. I am disciplined and organized.
Habit 4: Think Win-Win (Everyone can win)
Thinking “win-win” means finding a solution that works for everyone. Let’s search for solutions that will make us happy as well as others. It is cooperation, not competition. Win-win thinking requires a combination of courage, consideration, and listening.
A win-win person would think: I balance courage for getting what I want with consideration for what others want. I make deposits in others’ Emotional Bank Accounts. When conflicts arise, I look for third alternatives.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood (I listen before I talk)
Seeing things through the eyes of the other person. Empathetic listening means to listen with the intent to understand what the other person is thinking and feeling. This is when we listen NOT ONLY with our ears, but we also listen with our HEARTS. We listen for feeling and for meaning.
A person with this habit would think: I listen to other people’s ideas and feelings. I try to see things from their viewpoints. I listen to others without interrupting. I am confident in voicing my ideas. I look people in the eyes when talking.
Habit 6: Synergize (Together is better)
TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More
Synergy is a result of everyone working together. The results of two or more people working together can be better than the individuals working alone. This habit involves looking at alternatives, listening to other’s views, valuing differences, and seeking creative “third alternatives.”
A team player would think: I value other people’s strengths and learn from them. I get along well with others, even people who are different than me. I work well in groups. I seek out other people’s ideas to solve problems because I know that by teaming with others we can create better solutions than any one of us alone. I am humble.
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw (Balance feels best)
To sharpen the saw involves self-improvement, on-going growth and lifelong learning. Sharpening the Saw requires taking care of three main parts of each of us:
Body, Mind & Spirit.
1. Are you taking care of your body and physical health?
2. Are you learning new things all the time and exercising your mind?
3. Are you taking care of the important Spiritual part of your life?
A person who is balanced would think: I take care of my body by eating right, exercising, and getting sleep. I spend time with family and friends. I learn in lots of ways and lots of places, not just at school. It takes time to find meaningful ways to help others.
Habit 8: Find Your Voice (I have special gifts and talents)
This is the newest habit. All children have unique talents and gifts they need to discover. When they find their special abilities, it will allow them to shine. Sharing these talents with others can bring great joy. Helping others find their unique talents is also a goal for this habit.