The Clock & the Compass

Time has been called “the great equalizer.” Whether you are a rich man on a yacht, or a homeless person on the street, you get the same amount of hours and minutes each day. We do not know for sure how long we might be on this earth, but each day that we are, we are given the same amount of time as everyone else. Nobody can add even a millisecond to their day or a single minute to their week.

What this means then, is that life is about choices, and our choices are directed by our values. We get the same amount of time each day, but what we do with that time is as varied as the stars in the sky and is what makes us individuals. So the question is not “do we have time,” because you do have time, but instead what will you choose to do with that time.

A few years ago Stephen Covey wrote the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” which became a bestseller all over the world. In the book, the author uses the illustration of a clock and a compass. In today’s world, most of us live by the clock and can even be driven by it. A clock symbolizes how we manage our time through schedules and appointments. But to live by the clock alone is to live an unprincipled life. Being driven by the tyranny of the urgent. The compass, on the other hand, does not tell us about time, but instead where we are going. It helps us get to where we want to go. The compass symbolizes vision, values, and principles. It represents what we feel is important and how we lead our lives. The point Covey tries to make is that too many of us are guided by the clock and not the compass. In today’s 24/7 world we need to learn how to live according to our vision, values, and principles and not the loud demands of the clock.

What does this mean for us? For many of us the question actually is, “where is my compass?” We may need to take some time to re-calibrate our lives so that the compass is something we use. As teachers and administrators whether we like it or not we are always modeling for our students. Can we model the compass over the clock? Can we help our students understand what it means to be guided by a compass and not driven by a clock.

With that said, I would like to write more about this but am late for an appointment 🙂

Karl Steinkamp
Blog 18
Day 18 of 30

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2 thoughts on “The Clock & the Compass

  1. I think Monday morning I will place an image of a compass over the clock in my classroom. Wait for someone to notice, then have the discussion with them about where are your priorities.
    Great job with your blog streak! Keep up the good work

    Like

    1. That is an awesome idea. I might actually do the same thing with my board meetings this week because I am introducing to them a five year strategic plan with one of the main four pillars being innovative learners. Thanks for reading the blog. It is much more motivating to write when people actually read it.

      Like

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