The hero’s journey begins with hearing a call to action… and then possibly refusing it.
We often see new learners, in the beginning of the school year, struggling with their newfound independence. They haven’t yet grasped the magnitude of their freedom and responsibility, but slowly yet surely, things begin to change. Learners find focus and flow. Badges are earned and hope is renewed as a learner accepts the call.
Then January happens. A moment of crisis. Doubt creeps in. With many challenges overcome and yet many harder challenges still to come. A hero naturally questions the journey. "Is it even worth my time? Am I the right person to answer this call? I‘m struggling, it’s so hard. I need a teacher to tell me what to do because I don't know how to think for myself. My parents are panicking whether I’m learning enough at the same level as my peers in the outside world." This is the moment when families struggle and usually decide to leave our community for an educational setting more in line with their family core values.
A hero isn’t someone who blindly accepts the given path. A hero has real evidence that this journey is hard, and progress sometimes seems non-existent. Who better than a hero to doubt the road ahead or decide to leave if this is not the path they want to take?
In “Mastery: The Keys to Success”, George Leonard explains that on the path to mastery, there is a time period of incubation aka the plateau. The plateau is a stage of development where intense growth is happening but no measurable progress is made. Anyone who has tried to learn something new, whether a musician, an athlete or an artist and even a new language, can relate to this stage- the frustrating period of practice where nothing seems to be changing until all of a sudden, there is a huge leap in growth. A period of great change where progress is exponential. It seems like, overnight, what was once a challenge has become a strength. Some families may not have the patience nor the faith to wait for such an invisible plateau and may start doubting whether their child is learning and what would become of them if they are not on par with their peers of the same age. Would they fit in in the outside world? This is when we mutually know that ROA is not the right school for them.
Obstacles, failure, challenges- every hero will encounter them on this journey. These experiences aren’t avoidable. They are the essential ingredients to growth.
We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t doubt the journey. Isn’t it so very human to long for an easier way? Even when we know the truth deep down – the greater the challenge, the greater the growth. The question is… are we ready to answer the call and take that leap of faith? Our remaining families will answer with a resounding, "YES!"