As we enter week three at Acton we are celebrating, reflecting, and planning forward in equipping these young Heroes toward a journey worth going on! This year we have a studio of 100% completely new learners, in the midst of lots of change over the past few months, and from a wide array of previous experiences. All have one thing in common - each are geniuses that deserve to find their voice, their calling in the world. We believe this is a time for each of our learners to feel heard and loved, knowing and at times the journey is not easy. We anticipate Learning to Learn, Do, Be alongside peers in a civil group that hold themselves and others accountable is at times bumpy, but necessary.
As we reflect, early in week 1 we had a few Heroes in discussion declare “At Acton we can play all day without instruction, direction or structure”.
As we enter week three we have begun to see some amazing things begin to emerge. Many have begun to use their voice and tools in speaking up, affirming each other, and taking ownership of the studio in a way that they can be proud of. Perhaps they are beginning to see they do have lots of freedoms and the need for contracts and process are important. This is some of the most powerful lessons that perhaps they will hold dearly. We’ve seen the learners step up for their studio and fellow travelers fulfilling two or three plus studio maintenance jobs (instead of just one) while others were out because they wanted a studio they would be proud of (and they were up to the challenge). During our contract game learners felt distraction needed to be addressed and “Do not distract others” made it from our IDEA board to the RESULTS board in just one day. Others have begun to embrace conflict resolution while finding their voice as they begin to see themselves in a role that is perhaps completely new to them. This is some of the most powerful learning at Acton Southwest Austin.
Welcome to the journey at Acton and Building the Tribe! For parents it requires bundles of love, care and affirmation to support your learner. I love what Laura Sandefer wrote about:
“Often at Acton we see a dichotomy between what parents perceive and what actually happens in a day at Acton – which in turn creates confusion around what their role should be in this learning journey. “If I’m not supposed to intervene in my child’s life, how can I get him to clean his room or be well-mannered at a restaurant?”
“Here’s a gold nugget of clarity I hope helps: Intervening (a.k.a. interfering) is not the same thing as supporting. Acton parents who know this difference enjoy a grounded sense of peace that is otherwise impossible. Our vision for the role of an Acton parent is that of loving supporter (which includes the roles of guide, mentor, boundary-enforcer and consequence-deliverer.)
Just as the Acton tools and processes are meant to build a solid support system for the Eagles, they can do so at home, too.”
As we look to equip ourselves as parents, guides, fellow travelers I invite you to review some of the systems we have introduced as our learners “learn to learn” and “learn to be,” the Hero's Journey, relational covenants and real world consequences transform difficult decisions into virtuous habits. Think about which ones you most want to support at home next!
Beginning to form virtuous process and habits:
- The Hero’s Journey framework – using this tool as you face problems in life gives a sense of meaning and inspires optimistic action rather than victim-based reaction.
- SMART Goals – which are goals that are: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. Learners begin to do this weekly and daily.
- Studio Maintenance - where learners begin to self-organize and self-direct in taking accountability to keep their studio sacred and pristine.
- PEACE table for conflict resolution
- Strikes System a guide-directed accountability system where learners begin to understand that every choice has a consequence when one chooses to hurt another person.
Forming relational covenants:
- Contracts and promises - the learners are developing their studio contract for the year, knowing boundaries is essential to living well together. And, understanding consequences for crossing boundaries is not only fair, it is essential to build a trusting relationship.
As always, the best resource about the Acton tools is your child. While many of these are new there is no better way to become familiar than asking them!
Along with our families, we will continue to remain focused on our promises to inspire and equip each learner along their own special journey!