There is no short-cut on the Hero’s Journey. No social media filter will make it look rosy, cozy or scrumptious. And Siri or Alexa will not be there to tell you which way to turn, what the weather will be or how long the trip will take.
That’s the whole point.
The Hero’s Journey is raw and real and ultimately a solo adventure.
While the people – mentors, guides, fellow travelers even enemies and jesters – are crucial influencers of the experience, only the hero can go through it, face the inevitable ordeal that awaits and capture the treasure – the precious inner gift of a strong character that lasts a lifetime.
Applied to a typical day at ROA, the ordeal can come in the form of being held accountable for fudging on goal achievement, engaging in a conflict with a friend, feeling desperately stuck in math or refusing to work at all.
What’s a parent of a child on a Hero’s Journey to do when the ordeal is encountered?
In our gut, we know that denying our children the experience of facing their own ordeals is like robbery. When we intervene, take away responsibility or become the voice for our children rather than letting them speak, we steal their opportunity to discover their own personal treasures.
But do we do nothing?
There are two options I ponder when feeling the stress of watching my child face an ordeal – whether as a result of his/her own choices or that of another person’s choices:
Option 1: Do I intervene? Get upset about the unfairness right alongside him? Get in there and fix it? Take away the tension? Ask the Guide to help? Complain or blame?
Option 2: Do I wait? Listen? Stay calm? Ask questions to help him/her figure out what happened and what to do next? Express my belief that he/she can do this even though it’s hard?
I’d like to think I always choose Option 2 but I’m not always that strong. I’m grateful for the net I have as an ROA parent to catch me before I step in to steal. We designed the parent contract and studio processes not just for other parents – we designed them for me and other guides too. They are the voice of reason I wish I had on those days I might otherwise deny my children the treasure that is rightfully theirs. They guide my actions and words.
“Parents who persistently fall on the side of intervening for their child, as opposed to supporting their child’s attempts to problem-solve, interfere with the most important task of childhood and adolescence: the development of self.” - The Price of Privilege