Put First Things First

No can really mean Yes!

What does it really mean when we say No to our children? Most of the time it means Yes to something more important. It means,Yes, to healthier choices, habits, and relationships. Putting first things first in life means that we are choosing to put off lesser things until later and doing first things now.  Remind your children this week that your No is really a loving Yes to the better version of them. Our No‘s and Yes‘s reflect our values, and when we are clear about what we value in life, No, is often the perfect and right thing to say. 

One of my favorite lessons in the Middle School Pathways program is the rocks and sand exercise (see the Pickle Jar video link below). It is a clear metaphor for getting our priorities straight and finding ways to be more intentional about our life, and likely, being able to achieve more than we may have thought possible. Happy and successful people are great at spending their time and talent on what is most important to them: heart, mind, body, and soul.

Help your children to examine their “firsts” by asking them about each of the AACA colors:

  • Heart (blue) – Who are the most important people in your life?
  • Mind (yellow) – What topics do you enjoy learning about most?
  • Body (red)- How do you like to spend time physically? (favorite sports, hobbies… )
  • Soul (green)- Why are you so special?

The other important message tied to this week’s habit is knowing what is important and urgent, and what is important but not urgent. Sorting the tasks and activities in our lives between these two ideas helps to keep our plates from feeling too heavy and full. I created this guide to support our families in organizing our week/month and helping us to be intentional about our time and talents. I encourage you to print it, talk about it, and decide as a family how you can best use the precious asset of your time.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen Covey

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” -Goethe


Learning Links

How Are Charter Schools Funded?

How Are Charter Schools Funded?

California charter schools are publicly funded schools, but HOW they are funded differs from traditional public schools. Money for charter schools comes from four levels: federal, state, local, and private donations. Let’s take a closer look at some of these key...



Did you know that one of the smartest things we can do is to be thankful? Neuroscientists have proven that an ounce of gratitude can lead to clearer thinking, better sleeping, less stress, and smarter decision-making. The release of positive neurotransmitters in our...