At ROA and every other Acton affiliate school, we often refer to our learners as heroes.
Why are we so intentional about this and why is it such a point of emphasis?
It's an important question, and the answer cuts to the heart ❤️ of all that happens here.
Our children are not empty vessels waiting to be filled or a blank slate waiting to be written upon. Nor are they defined by their grades, where the learning that takes place has little relevance to their process of becoming. They are, we (myself and the guides) wholeheartedly believe, brimming with potential, endowed with a unique constellation of passions, gifts, and interests, eager to be co-creators and participants, and capable of more than we could ever imagine, from the oldest of them to the youngest of them.
The call to the heroic is the call to adventure, to a journey that will stretch them farther than even we thought possible, where they will uncover their truest, most authentic self and find out who they were created to be -- to discover a burning passion, profound joy, and to painstakingly pursue it, giving it their all.
This is most definitely not the language of the indulgent. In fact, I challenge you to pick up a biography of any inspirational hero. My guess is that you will find only the last chapter or so had been dedicated to their victory—hoisting a trophy amidst the adoration of many. What you will find far more emphasis on is the journey required to reach that pinnacle moment -- the trials, challenges, setbacks, mistakes, heartbreaks, and failures.
And that is what defines a hero: the willingness to get back up, learn from mistakes, and press on toward the vision of the better world that compels one.
Admittedly, many of our young heroes have yet to fully adopt this identity for themselves, and doubt sometimes lingers in the studio and perhaps even at home.
Recognizing one’s self as the hero of your own story takes some time. Parents, you can help in that regard when they are with you. Undoubtedly, seeing and observing them within our studios, the heroic spirit is alive and well (an exclamation of “I can do it!” about something previously avoided, the bravery to jump into a challenging activity, the resolve to try a new approach when previous attempts have failed, or the courage to respectfully confront another learner or even a guide about an ongoing issue). This is the stuff of heroes, and within a community of growth-minded young people, it is being fortified into their souls each day.
So each time we refer to them as heroes, we aren’t indulging them, stroking their ego, or engaging in a cutesy language game, or our favorite description by someone who doesn’t truly understand what we do- a hippie approach. 😁
We are calling forth their truest selves and beckoning them onward in their journey to find a calling and change the world. We do hope you already see your children this way or are open to seeing that in them.
Here's to a year of fresh opportunities of seeing our children as the heroes they are.