Stephen Covey Story on Thoughts

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He Still Collects Quotes

"Several years ago a friend shared this experience from his youth:

An old man was asked to teach a group of unruly teenage boys, including this friend, in a community program. The man was so old and the boys so 'energetic' that many eyebrows were raised at the arrangement.

The first day, the old man stood at the door of the classroom and quietly handed each boy a little card as he walked in. During the class, he simply had each boy read aloud the thought that was written on the card. Then he told each boy to keep the card and to memorize the thought on it, or else they would not be able to get in the class next week.

The following week, the old man was waiting at the classroom door. Those who could not quote the thought were instructed to go and tell their parents that they would not be allowed in class. In those days, this was not a desirable thing for a boy to do. So when they hesitated, the old man offered to help them learn it 'this time'

This ritual continued week after week. The friend who related this story said that after a few weeks, those little thoughts changed the whole feeling of the group. They eventually changed the course of his life. They gave him inspiration and hope years later in a foxhole far from home, and on many other challenging occasions throughout his life.

That was over forty years ago, and he still collects quotes."