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Mayor’s Corner



I once heard a story about a minister trying to bring home a point to his congregation. He stood at the pulpit and looked out at his congregation, and pulled out a good-sized clear jar. He began to fill the jar with fist-sized rocks until he could fit no more. He looked at his crowd and asked them if they thought the jar was full. They were all shaking their heads because he couldn’t fit any more rocks in. He then pulled out a bucket of smaller rocks and poured them into the jar, and the little pebbles filled all the spaces between the rocks; once all the voids were filled, he put the bucket down and asked the congregation again- is this full? An old man in the back shouted out “NO,” and of course, he was right – the minister then proceeded to pull out a bucket of sand and fill the jar to the brim, and then fill it further with a bucket of water. He stood before his congregation and asked them what the point of this illustration was. The old man from before yelled out, “You can always fit more in.” The pastor replied – yes, that’s true, but rather let’s think about this differently – that if you didn’t put the big rocks in first, you wouldn’t have gotten them in. This illustration reminds me often about how to spend my time and how to allocate resources.
I don’t know about you, but I always seem to have more to do than time allows. I have spent time identifying what my big rocks are – what is important to me. I know what my big rocks are and need to do those first or put them on my calendar so they don’t become something I try to squeeze in.

Patrick Lencioni is one of my favorite authors. He has written many books that I have read over and over. One concept he taught me was the need for leaders to be CROs (Chief Reminding Officers). Some people believe that repetitive messages are inefficient and tedious. I’ve heard it equated to a band getting tired of playing that top song that put them on the charts. But repetition and a reminder create a habit and focus. When I coach a softball team, I have the same warm-up routine – we stretch as a group, we warm up by throwing, and we go over the plan for the rest of the practice or game.
We open all regular City Council meetings with the Flag Salute to remind us of our duty, obligation, and commitment. To me, the Pledge of Allegiance also reminds me that I’m serving under God’s promise and provision. It reminds me that while our decisions may divide people, part of our job is to unite everyone as a community after making a decision. It reminds me that the most fundamental role of government is to provide liberty and justice. Liberty reminds me that we need less regulation and rules. Justice reminds me that we must be righteous and fair in maintaining peace.
Part of being a good leader is reminding people, but equally as important is taking time to celebrate wins. I once heard a different twist on the story of the big rocks, where someone used golf balls instead of big rocks and beer instead of water. The point is that you need to have some fun, and celebrations should fit around everything. I like that idea, and I hope you do too.
God Bless La Cañada Flintridge, and God Bless America. Thank you.

Keith Eich


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