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Rocks in the Jar 1

January 9th, 2010 by Thalia Kehoe Rowden

first things first

In their book First Things First Stephen R Covey, A Roger Merrill and Rebecca R Merrill tell a story that has become part of our life at West.  We’ve done the rocks-in-the-jar demo several times since January 2009 and it has become a significant image for lots of us.

If you don’t know what this is all about, here’s a version of the story (right click on this to open it in a new tab or window so you don’t lose your place on this site). The bottom line: when it comes to running your life, if you fill your life with unimportant things, it’s hard to make room for what you value.  Put the biggest things in first, and they’ll all fit.


Now that we’re back in January, we’re doing the demo again on Sunday mornings, with a few twists, because now is the time of year it’s easiest to make good choices about what we will prioritise.  We can clean out last year’s jar and start again. I don’t know about you, but I need all the fresh starts I can lay my hands on.

Over the next few weeks I’d like to ask a few questions about how you’re deciding what’s important and what you are hoping for in 2010.  For today: what kind of impact has the rocks-in-the-jar illustration had on you?

And here’s another thing Covey, Merrill and Merrill can give us: chapter three of their book is entitled ‘To live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy’.  That sounds like a list of big rocks to me.  What do you think?

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  • 1 Liane Lovegrove Jan 18, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    I love the concept of the rocks in the jar. Especially about being intentional about which rocks to put in. What are rocks and what are small stones? When I’m starting to feel snowed under I go back to the rocks in the jar concept to sort out what are the important stuff and what stuff I should set aside. Some of my rocks this year are spending time with Wayne, doing different things, maybe exploring some of NZ. Now that Anna is leaving home, it will hopefully give us some room to do this. We have already started cooking meals together, exploring new recipes. Another rock is my relationship with God and West. Another is my work, I would like another to be making room to spend time with frriends and family. Around those of course I’ll squeeze in as much craft as I can.

  • […] often use a demonstration with props (think of the ‘rocks in the jar’ demo you may have seen). Again, this is just a matter of doing something in real life that you […]