Seriously, parenting can be exhausting – physically, mentally and emotionally. Now don’t get me wrong…it is rewarding and I am grateful to be a parent but it doesn’t change the fact that it is hard work. It’s a job you never retire from. No vacation! No pay!! No bonuses!!! It sometimes leaves you feeling anxious, confused, and frustrated. However it offers you opportunities for personal development, unconditional love, indescribable joy and free hugs & kisses!
Seeing there is no way out once we sign up for this job, and quite frankly I’m not sure that even if we were given the option to quit we would, how can we help ourselves carry out this job gracefully, efficiently and with the attention to detail that it requires? The answer is to “Sharpen The Saw”!
To Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have…you. Stephen Covey in explaining this 7th habit of Highly Effective People tells the story of a man who was walking through a forest when he came across a frustrated lumberjack. The lumberjack was trying to cut down a tree with a saw and was swearing and cursing as he labored in vain. “What’s the problem?” The man asked. “My saw’s blunt and won’t cut the tree properly.” The lumberjack responded. “Why don’t you just sharpen it?” “Because then I would have to stop sawing.” Said the lumberjack. “But if you sharpened your saw, you could cut more efficiently and effectively than before.” “But I don’t have time to stop!” The lumberjack retorted, getting more frustrated. The man shook his head and kept on walking, leaving the lumberjack to his pointless frustration.
Keeping your saw sharp is something only you can do for yourself. It’s an investment you must deliberately make in you and trust me the dividends are well worth it plus your family would be glad you did. Now, just so we’re clear, putting the saw down (taking a break) isn’t the same thing as actually sharpening the saw. Sharpening the saw entails deliberately taking action to enhance and keep in balance these 4 dimensions of your life.
Thankfully each new day presents us with a fresh opportunity to sharpen our saw and acquire the much-needed boost to see us through the day. I like the way Abraham Lincoln puts it – “If I only had an hour to chop down a tree, I would spend the first forty five minutes sharpening my axe”. Forgetting to sharpen our saw will leave us stressed and burnt out.
My people we are in this for the long haul so please lets prep ourselves regularly for this ride of a lifetime so we can really enjoy the journey.