GGIS is a young school. And like most young people it is curious, agile and keen to practice new things. We come across many things every now and then but today I would want to share our just-begun journey of the 7 Habits program.
Many of us know about this great book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Some of us might have read it and some would have brushed it aside as one more self-help book.
I had heard about the book but had not really paid attention to it. However, in April 2017 we had a new team member who introduced us to the idea of 7 habits being implemented in her past school – The Fountainhead, Surat. She spoke highly about it and as I said, we are always curious and ready to try new ideas.
So I began to read it and understood why she recommended it so highly.
We decided to take it up as a school reading and over the vacation in May, we had all our teachers read it. Once we read it as a team, we planned to take it further to our students through the 7 Habits of Happy Kids and The Leader In Me (TLIM) Program .
However, what happened after the reading of the book by teachers was nothing short of miraculous.
Now, let me tell you a little bit about our team’s mindset before the program. As a small team of about 10 people, we worked extremely hard trying to accomplish the gazillion things that are expected out of a school and teachers. We regularly put in our plans and completed our To-Dos. We also attended many Professional Development sessions. A few of us really saw the big picture and were keen to learn more but some of us didn’t. However being honest and sincere people, we always finished up whatever was to be done. So with this state of mind of the team, we began the 7 habits reading.
I started to see the first impact of the book during the summer vacation when I received a few messages from teachers telling me about how they are enjoying the book. They shared some excerpts of how the book was validating their thoughts and giving them the much needed “big picture”.
I couldn’t wait for the school to reopen and so it did in June. We had a few new members join us who too had read the book and came with a lot of enthusiasm.We began with a basic discussion of the book and also divided ourselves into teams and presented each habit one by one. However, let me narrate a few instances that occurred which changed the landscape of how we looked at things.
However, let me narrate a few instances that occurred which changed the landscape of how we looked at things.
The biggest change that took place was within the teacher’s mindsets. Instead of being judgmental and reactive to anything new, they realized that THEY can choose their responses. This was phenomenal. In their personal as well professional lives, they started to look at others in a kinder way. And that included the mother-in-law as well!
The idea of a paradigm shift and all of us having subjective objectivity was a game-changer. All of us are objective. But our objectivity is so very subjective! Knowing this released us from the trap of “others don’t understand my viewpoint” script. We now genuinely tried to see the other person’s viewpoint.
Being proactive made us feel more in charge of our lives. We had the faith that we can influence our circumstances rather than live as helpless pawns that are acted upon.
Most of all, we found a common vocabulary. Instead of waging personal battles, we came to a more common consensus. We started putting our viewpoints more objectively and started accepting others more openly.
As a leader, I too underwent immense personal change. We moved from writing monotonous plans to sharing more ideas. I started to have more faith in others and it was reciprocated in multitude.
Lastly, I would say I once again realized the importance of a teacher. While there is plenty of knowledge out there (the 7 habits book existed for many years and I knew about it too) we all need a person (a teacher) who can actually put us on a path of real change. The faith and conviction of a single person, in this case, the teacher who introduced us to TLIM, can be more infectious than a trunk full of knowledge.
We have now taken this to our students and we see a slight shift in their behavior too. Although we have touched the tip of the iceberg of the endless possibilities, it’s a great place to begin.
So, is our school a utopian place with no more issues? Nooo. We have plenty of them to deal with every single day. But our mindset is different now. When a parent writes to us with an issue, we take this an opportunity. We seek to understand them and then offer a win-win solution. We actively seek balance in our lives and try to incorporate games and physical movement activities in our plans. We are more open to new reading and seek to develop our own capacities. Now, this sure is a great way to begin the year, isn’t it?
Do share your thoughts.