Superintendent Notes: Big Rocks

Author and speaker Steven Covey is famous for his visualization of using various sized rocks in a container to symbolize the important factors in our lives. The largest rocks must be put into the container first or they won’t all fit. He uses gravel to represent the next level of priorities on the “to do list.” Finally, sand and water represent the smallest details we are to complete. Covey’s demonstration displays the need to put in the big rocks first. If we don’t make the big rocks our priorities, everything won’t fit into the bucket of our lives.

Covey’s message isn’t for us to accomplish everything possible with our time, although time-efficiency is important. The message is that we need to take care of our most important priorities first. If we don’t, we won’t have time to accomplish our primary goals.

All of us have a need to step back from what we are doing and to reflect on our effectiveness. For educators, it is becoming increasingly important to identify the Big Rocks that our students need for future success. With the availability of information, it is less important for us to teach content and more critical to teach students what to do with information.

One Big Rock for education needs to be a focus on skills that will impact students. The big rocks in learning have shifted from a focus on memorization of content to a focus on skills.

Identification of our Big Rocks is important for families as well. Parenting is hard work. Most of us should increase the size of the rock that represents successfully helping our children navigate the world of maturation and education. We communicate what is important to our kids through our conversations and how we spend time.

Covey’s point was that we should always create and maintain a focus that does not get blurred by minor details, digressions or distractions. This focus on top priorities can truly help identify our Big Rocks.

Adulting is a challenge. The Big Rocks chosen by educators and parents communicate priorities to our kids. Prioritizing what is really important takes effort and focus. The minutia of our daily lives, those smaller priorities, will take over if we let them. We can all benefit by putting the Big Rocks first. Covey is quoted as saying, “If the big rocks don’t go in first, they aren’t going to fit later.”

Todd Evans28 Posts

Todd Evans currently serves as Superintendent of Prairie Hills USD No. 113 in Kansas. USD No. 113 operates Pre-K through 12 schools in the communities of Sabetha, Wetmore and Axtell.

It’s about SES

State of USD 113


District identity


What Are Your Thoughts?


Welcome! Login in to your account

Remember me Lost your password?

Lost Password