Monday, January 14, 2013

Sharpening the Saw

My grandfather was a really good carpenter.  His skill was likely developed as a result of raising a large family first in the coal fields of Kentucky and then as a share cropper in Tennessee.  He raised a large family during the first half of the 20th century when you made things yourself or did without.

I never saw him use a power tool.  He only worked with hand tools – brace and bit, plane, and hand-saw.  Papaw was a master with the hand-saw.  He could make quick, clean, straight and square cuts almost as fast as a power saw.  He was also the only person I knew who could sharpen and set the pitch of the teeth on a hand saw.  He knew the secret that making accurate cuts required a sharp saw.

In Stephen Covey’s book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” he talks about taking time to sharpen the saw.  Covey describes it as taking the time for “renewing the four dimensions of your nature – physical, spiritual, mental, and social/emotional.”  Our professional development days are designed as times to sharpen the saw.  As our registration processes have changed, I know that closing offices and suspending regular business is something of a burden.  But the goal continues to be to equip us to work more efficiently and effectively when we re-engage.

With the change of the common calendar set to take effect in the Fall 2014 we will take the opportunity to evaluate when and how we conduct professional development.  Perhaps some changes are in order.  But we will continue to emphasize the importance of taking time to sharpen the saw.

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

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