As the rushing wave of a new school year subsides, I am grounded by the 5 promises we make to you, our customers. You may wonder, what exactly are those promises again?
First and foremost, we promise your child will begin a hero’s journey.
What does this mean?
The hero’s journey is a metaphor, a story with ancient roots and reflected throughout the ages in art and literature. Rather than a tale of seeking power and glory, it is a framework for living purposefully, joyfully and with concern for the world and others.
The question wrapped around this framework is: “How can I use my talents in a way that brings me joy and serves others?”
Our students learn that the journey to answer this question includes stages or key elements as follows:
Home: This is your comfort zone. It is where you feel safe.
Call to action: When you have accepted a new challenge, you must leave your comfort zone, your usual habits and patterns.
Guides: On your journey, there will be people and books that help you.
Heroes: You have people you can look up to. Thinking of your hero when times are hard or you want to give up can bring hope and renewal. In every project and throughout our learning experiences, we discuss heroes – their challenges, their strengths, their journeys. Our students will have a bank of heroes’ stories in their memories to draw upon throughout their lives.
Fellow Travelers: The journey includes people you meet along the way. Some are helpful in your quest; others are distracting or bring temptations that may cause you to stray.
Challenges: You will face hardships and challenges as you move along your journey. There are mountains to climb and mistakes to experience. You can now accept failure as an important part of the journey rather than the end of the road.
Fears: Without a doubt, digging deep within and stepping into new territory is scary. We teach that courage is doing something even when you are scared. The fear doesn’t go away but can be faced. We practice courageous living at Acton in everything from core skills goal setting to sportsmanship on the field.
Achievements: Along the way, there will be celebrations of goals accomplished and milestones achieved. Taking time to note these moments and experiences helps keep the momentum toward even bigger accomplishments. Our exhibitions of work throughout the year are celebrations of achievements in learning and growing.
Personal transformation: While not always noticeable in grand ways, the experience of living a hero’s journey molds a person and brings the best gifts – the genius – of an individual to light. You can sense when someone is comfortable being who they are.
Returning home: From the journey, you are changed because you have discovered more of the real you. You may be a bit wiser, kinder, more generous. You have some battle scars that enhance your capacity for empathy. And you come back to your place of comfort, sharing your stories, your gifts so that others, too, are changed simply by knowing you. You can then set out again.
The hero’s journey is not just jargon at Acton. We promise your child will begin this journey during their time with us. Decades from now, when we are all old and wrinkly, I can’t wait to meet you again. We will have many stories to share about these courageous young travelers in our midst who will be called to change the world in small and grand ways.
Stay tuned for my next post: Promise #2.