How many days start with the letter T?

The other day I attended a leadership event at our local hospital. One of the speakers asked us “How many days of the week start with the letter T?”

The obvious answer is of course two, Tuesday and Thursday – but he said there’s another answer someone once gave him during a workshop, which is also correct: Tuesday, Thursday, today and tomorrow.

The point he made was that together people often solve problems in ways they wouldn’t have thought of on their own. Transformational ideas and break-through inventions are usually incremental processes that occur when different minds work together or build on each other’s work.

Steve Job’s iPod was based on existing mp3-players. Thomas Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb but improved it. The invention of the automobile and the airplane was the work of many; Henry Ford and the Wright Brothers just refined the ideas.

It never ceases to amaze me how people in a group – when the circumstances are right – develop creative ideas to solve challenging problems.

That evening, during dinner, I asked my children ‘Who knows how many days of the week start with T?” We had a bit of a discussion as a family until my 10-year old daughter said, “Seven days dad, because I always start my day with a tea.”

The seven habits according to my son

At breakfast my six-year old son mentioned he knew ‘the seven habits’. I couldn’t believe my ears. Was he talking about the seven habits of highly effective people, by Steven R. Covey?

“What kind of habits have you learned?” I asked.

He put down his cup and said to my amazement and surprise: “Habit one: be proactive.” So this is what children learn in school these days!

Here are three of the seven habits of highly effective kids, according to my son:

Habit 1: Be proactive

“When I start cleaning up my room before mum asks me to. ”

Habit 3: First things first

“When I do my homework first, and then play a game on the iPad.”

Habit 4: Think win-win

“When Daniel and I don’t agree and we find something we both like.”

If only all adults would strive for mutually beneficial solutions, set their priorities based on importance instead of urgency, and take responsibility for their choices in life…