I have long considered Dr. Stephen R. Covey as one of the most influential contributors to my personal view of life and the world. Stephen was a professor of mine as a graduate student at Brigham Young University over 30 years ago and what he taught in that organizational behavior class made a huge impact on my life. One of his earliest books, The Spiritual Roots of Human Relations, had a profound impact on the way I looked at life and relationships and in many ways formed the basis for my parenting philosophies. But his landmark book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People changed forever how I conducted my life personally, professionally and in my family.
I enjoyed the opportunity the last nine years that we have lived in Dr. Covey's hometown of Provo, Utah to get to know him and his family better. He and his wife Sandra have made Provo a priority and helped raise money for and contribute significantly to the Covey Center for the Arts in downtown Provo which has added immeasurably to the quality of the visual and performing arts in our larger community.
But what impressed me most about Dr. Covey all these years was his commitment to his family. I was able to see in close proximity that he lived at home and with his family the principles he taught professionally. I don't think I have ever know a better and more committed father than Stephen Covey, nor have I ever known a man that is more congruent - meaning that his life truly reflected his beliefs.
I thought I might share with my readers some of the comments made by Dr. Covey's children at his funeral service on July 20. It would be a great thing if every father made choices now that allowed his children to say similar things about him at his funeral.
Son Sean Covey: "Dad was so good at making each of us feel special."(Deseret News)
Catherine Covey recalled the time when she was in junior high school and at her request, her father took her to see "Star Wars," even though he didn't like movies like that. "He came because he knew how much it meant to me," she said. (Deseret News)
Daughter Colleen Covey Brown: "Dad's greatest joy was his family." (Deseret News)
In sharing memories, daughter Maria, known as the shrimp of the family, told about some hard times she went through after delivering her third baby. "It was just too much for me to handle," she remembered. She called her father, who told her, "Throw out your Franklin Covey planner and enjoy the baby. For at least six months you won't be on top of things." (Provo Daily Herald)
Son Stephen M. R. Covey: "He had complete integrity. There was no gap between what he said and what he did. As good as he was in public, he was even better in private as a husband and father." (Provo Daily Herald)
Daughter Cynthia Covey: "He taught us the great secret to happiness is contribution, not accumulation," Cynthia Covey said, according to the (Salt Lake Tribune)
I will personally miss Dr. Covey and his wisdom and influence. He has set an example for me as a husband and father which will be with me forever and that inspires me to be better in my own life at building people, and as Dr. Covey's own personal mission reflected, "unleashing human potential."
More on Stephen R. Covey:
- My profile of Dr. Covey
- Stephen Covey's Four Quadrants and Work-Life Balance
- Stephen Covey Quotations
- How to Write a Family Mission Statement