In Stephen Covey’s house, there are pictures and paintings everywhere. Some of them are framed covers of magazines. Others are pictures of him with world leaders such as the Dalai Lama, President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.
One photo that brings the biggest smile to Dr. Covey’s face, however, is a black and white shot of him wearing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on his head. He said the unusual sandwich was created when he took a lengthy phone call at home.
“My kids made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on my head and so I just left it there all day and I didn’t acknowledge it at all,” he said, still laughing at the memory. “It was dripping down.”
Dr. Covey shows his sense of humor at the
announcement event. (Photo by Casey McFarland)
Dr. Covey shares a laugh with Mr. Huntsman at
the announcement event. (Photo by Casey McFarland)
Sean Covey, one of Dr. Covey’s sons, was the proud instigator of the prank. To hear him describe it, they just took a proactive approach to deal with the interruption.
“We layered probably a half-inch of peanut butter all over his bald head,” Sean said. “Then followed up with some jam and put a piece of bread on top.”
Sean, who wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, described his father as a very informal, approachable and funny person.
“He always treated everybody the same, exactly,” Sean said. “It didn’t matter if you were the CEO of a Fortune 10 company or the local barber. You wouldn’t have ever known the difference. He was never a respecter of persons or title.”
Sean said that while his father is a hard worker, he also knows how to relax. Taking naps, for example, is something his father can do anywhere.
“He’ll take a nap on someone’s office floor,” Sean said. “He’ll go visit someone and lay down on their living room floor. He’ll lay on the grass anywhere.”
Sean said he remembers the time his dad decided to take a nap in the movies. Dr. Covey was tired so he rolled up a coat and stretched out in the aisle.
“Dad, you can’t do that!” Sean remembers the family saying, as they saw him getting comfortable on the floor.
Bob Whitman, the CEO of FranklinCovey, called Dr. Covey “fun-loving and spontaneous.” He remembers that one time Dr. Covey pulled a prank on some people who came to meet him at the airport.
“Stephen had put on a wig and these funny teeth and he was just standing there,” Mr. Whitman said. “He’d come off the plane and, of course, they didn’t recognize him, and he kept standing around until he could see that they were all flustered and then he walked up and just started talking to them. It wasn’t until he took off the wig and the teeth that they could tell it was him.”
From left: Stephen R. Covey and Robert Miller (Shingo Prize) doing push ups at the convocation on campus. (Photo by Steve Eaton) Dr. Covey and the rest of the faculty try on their new Huntsman school caps. (Photo by Steve Eaton) Dr. Covey compares hair styles with Al Warnick, a former students. (Photo by Casey McFarland)