Why is it worth belonging to the Acton Academy community?
Being an Acton Academy Eagle or parent isn’t easy. It takes courage to be on the cutting edge of educational transformation; it takes a generous spirit to be willing to pave the way for thousands of young heroes and families to follow.
So why take on the challenge?
First, because the Hero’s Journey has stood the test of time. There’s a reason most novels, movies and plays feature some version of the Hero’s Journey as the main plotline. As human beings, we have a deep longing to make a difference and use our gifts to serve others, as we transform ourselves and change the world through courageous acts.
Choosing a Hero’s Journey means fully embracing what it means to be fully human.
Second, because Acton Eagles are different. By Launchpad, an Acton Eagle Eagles know how to work hard at something that matters in her own journey. She has learned in middle school to self-manage against long term goals, to self-govern using personal covenants with the courage to hold herself and others accountable; to choose a gift to deliberately practice in order to seek a worthy calling.
By Launchpad, an Eagle knows how to write and speak persuasively and how to make logical arguments and numerical calculations that are on point, accurate and meaningful. She knows how to participate in and lead a Socratic discussion to discover a new process for accomplishing an important goal; how to find a world class example and mentor to provide guidance; and how to have an even deeper discussion about eternal truths, principles and values.
She knows how to be tough minded without being harsh, and warmhearted without allowing others to take advantage of her kindness. She knows how to lead a meeting and cast a compelling vision or offer powerful incentives. She’s learned to make friends out of strangers and treat co-workers with respect.
Third, Acton Academy studios prepare Eagles for the real world. Acton Academy is not an educational Utopia. Human beings and communities are too messy and complex to hope for perfection, so life in the studio is messy and the culture must constantly be rebuilt.
But our studio contracts and systems do function much like a Civil Society, where good choices lead to more freedom and responsibility, and poor choices deliver clear consequences and grace so Eagles can stumble and rise again.
Fourth, because Acton families are different too. Families join in community and share difficult lessons learned. Family contracts and family meetings let us clarify what family means to each of us, the first step towards setting set individual and family goals so life is less busy and more fruitful.
Acton parents frame choices rather than issuing edicts or helicopter-like micromanagement or to give an Eagle unlimited license with no responsibility. Acton parents allow their Eagles to learn from mistakes, even when it’s hard. Acton parents realize that in many ways they are moving counterculturally, continually against three corrosive forces:
- Resistance, fear based paralysis that prevents making hard choices or starting a difficult project or journey.
- Distraction, a behavioral addiction to television, online gaming and video and social media that destroys concentration and flow and cheapens life.
- Victim-hood, the reflex to blame circumstances and others instead of accepting life can be unfair, and resolving to take personal responsibility for making the world a better place.
Being an Acton parent means realizing that our job isn’t to make our children’s lives as easy as possible; to relive our childhood wounds through our children or to treat children as friends or equals, but instead to act as role models, exercising genuine authority when needed and having the courage to trust natural consequences to prepare our children for a world that is at times magical and at other times terribly unforgiving.
Why is it worth belonging to the Acton Academy community? Because each of us has a limited time on this planet. We know that the mistakes, failures and trials build courage, resilience and grit one lesson at a time. We want to nurture in our children a sense of genuine accomplishment with every Exhibition or apprenticeship, tempered by gratitude.
Acton Eagles and parents are different. We are different in ways that will serve us well in the decades to come, eventually leading to fulfilling answers the three questions that matter most at the end of a well lived life:
- Did I accomplish something meaningful?
- Was I a good person? and
- Who did I love and who loves me?
Why is it worth being an Acton Eagle or parent? Because we long to squeeze every drop of joy, wonder and love from each day, even when the road is hard. We have no other choice, except to live a less meaningful and less interesting life.
This is the first of several posts to prepare our community for a spirited re-launch in September 2018.