In education, there is a renewed push for unit development.
Begin with the end in mind. What do we want students to know and be able to do at the end of the unit? Then we are to plan from the concept we want them to grasp to making generalizations, generating higher order thinking questions, planning meaningful performance tasks, and then assessing those tasks to see if-in the end-they did in fact understand the concept. This idea of beginning with the end in mind is applicable in all aspects of life.
In Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People , the second principle for being an effective person is to “Begin with the End in Mind.” Covey begins with a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
The author asks you to visualize yourself at your own funeral. You take a seat and listen to four speakers: one from your family, one from your workplace, one is from your circle of friends, and one from your church or community organization. What would each person say about you in each of these areas of your life? If you are reading this article now…take a moment to think about this. What kind of family member are you? What kind of coworker are you? What kind of friend are you? What kind of servant are you?
As an educator I do not want to be remembered by my test scores. I want to be remembered for how I treated my students. I want people to remember my passion and love for them, not what was written in my plan book. As a mother, I want to be remembered for making family times special, not for the tasks I completed in a day. I want them to know how much I love them and what I love about them, not remember my nagging.
In order for people to say these things about us, we have to live that way. Now, take a moment to reflect upon special people who made a difference in your life. What did it matter that they lived? What legacy did they leave behind? Why do you feel that way about them? How did they live their everyday life? Think of a funeral you went to and left feeling good because the person had such a positive influence on others. If we want that for ourselves we must live it daily.
Kids today live in a ME-NOW society. The media is influencing our society and our children to be selfish, self-centered, do what makes ME feel good, money is more important than people, and things make you happy. We are taught that STUFF makes us who we are. We live in a society where bullies are an increasing problem. Family values are not emphasized enough with many children today. We live in a global world of increasing competition. Our country has lost sight of the principles upon which it was founded. In our own lives, we get caught up in life and lose sight of why we are here.
What if everyone in this country made a list of everything we wanted people to say about us when we die and then worked to make that happen on a daily basis? What if every student went to school every day thinking about what they want for their future and what they want everyone to say about them in their senior yearbook? What if every parent began their day thinking about what they want their children to say about them when they are gone? What if every citizen served their community and their country thinking about the legacy they want to leave behind? What if we all asked ourselves will it matter that we lived? Begin with the end in mind and live it out with clear value and direction. If we would like to see our society change, it must begin with us and we must pass it on to our children. So, how do you want to be remembered? Will you outlive your life?