December 2017–The Importance of Connections
By Sean Covey

Greetings. For me, the best part of the holiday season is traditions—both old and new. Traditions keep us connected, bring a feeling of safety, and create excited anticipation—especially for children. This month, I’d like to share a story of one parent who realizes the importance of connections, especially between school and home.



Kalli's Story

In Kalli Sampson’s words, when she read The Leader in Me, it “lit her up inside.” She was familiar with the 7 Habits from college and always wondered why these powerful paradigms and principles were not taught earlier in life. When the principal of her children’s school asked what she thought about implementing Leader in Me, her answer was a resounding, “Yes!” Kalli was excited about the benefits of helping to create an empowering culture at the school. However, she couldn’t help but dream about what it would look like to connect the school culture with students’ homes.

Integrating the core paradigms of Leader in Me in her own home was the first step. Kalli could have stopped there and felt good but instead, she became certified to teach The 7 Habits of Successful Families® so other families in the school could benefit. Her classes started small but gained momentum through consistency of teaching. Then she began to invite families from other schools in the district. Today Kalli’s sessions can have as many as 50 participants.

As the Director of the Home and Family Division at FranklinCovey, John Covey has witnessed the power of The 7 Habits of Successful Families and how it touches the hearts and minds of students and families, puts them on common ground, and allows them to bridge gaps in their relationships. With John’s intimate knowledge of the content, Kalli’s next step was to work with him to make minor edits to the Leader in Me paradigms to fit the home. Below is the result.

These powerful Leader in Me paradigms, applied to the home, can do wonders for creating a fun and healthy family culture. Culture represents the quality of relationships. Culture is a feeling. Culture is how people generally treat each other most of the time. Reading The Leader in Me helped Kalli realize that every place, at home or in the classroom, has a culture, whether it is by design or by default. So why not deliberately create the kind of culture we want in both places?  “Our children spend most of their day at school and at home, so working together to design greatness in both cultures just makes sense,” she said.

Every school community has “rock star” family members—people with incredible strengths and talents—who want to help. Consider who those people are in your school and invite them to contribute. Perhaps, like Kalli, one or two individuals or couples would like to teach The 7 Habits of Successful Families to other families in your school. Many other school communities have done this with great success. The vital life skills taught in a Leader in Me school are so much more likely to make an impact when reinforced in the home.   

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season.


Warm regards,


Sean Covey                                                           

FranklinCovey Education

Shared leadership takes place when we listen to our children, value their opinions, and trust them with responsibilities. Such responsibilities might include helping to prepare family meals, planning family activities, taking care of a sibling, or contributing through daily chores. 

When we look for our children’s strengths, we build their confidence. We empower them by encouraging and supporting their interests, attending their games or activities, helping them write a personal mission statement, or simply letting them know we believe in them. All children need at least one person who is crazy about them. Let’s let our children know we see their genius.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote goes, “Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying.” We are our children’s first teachers—always modeling, always being an example. As such, we should be aware of what we teach our children in our everyday interactions. Through our words and tone, we have the ability to change our homes. Knowing this impact, let’s be wise about what we say and how we say it. After all, change starts with us.

Attributed to the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, one of my favorite sayings is, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” It is both a privilege and a responsibility to teach our children to develop a love of learning. However, we also need to help them learn to take the reins of their own education. When we control their learning too much, we take away their initiative. It takes time, patience, and a willingness to give up some control in order to build proactive muscles in our children. 

Developing the whole person means nurturing our children academically, but also nurturing their body, heart, and soul. Their social and emotional education is as important as their academic education. Providing opportunities for our children to be on teams, to join clubs, to try new things, and to learn critical life skills such as social etiquette, public speaking, and creative problem solving develops their social and emotional skills. We want to develop healthy and resilient children—children who take care of themselves physically, who have quality relationships, and who have a sense of purpose in life.