Will you Choose hard now or harder later?
At Acton, one of our main recipes for growth is to fail early, cheaply and often. How comfortable are you with seeing your child fail?
For some parents, it's as natural as breathing. They don't even see the struggle as struggle, they just see growth.
For some parents, it takes a lot of work, but they want to give their child the gift of struggle, so they accept that they (as parents) will have some struggle in the process, too.
For some parents, it is too uncomfortable. It is not where they want to be.
The reality is you cannot remove all failure and struggle from your child's life. Life will test them for the skills of independence and resilience at some point, even if you won't. It's coming.
Adapting to new skills and experiences is easier when you are younger (early). The stakes are lower when you are younger (cheaply). Failure is guaranteed with some frequency if you participate in an environment that asks for independence, mastery and excellence (often).
With this as the backdrop, we wanted to share the following open letter written by a fellow Acton owner after a recent conversation with one of their 2023 high school graduates.
"Why is this so easy?"
"Why is this so easy?" This was the question asked this week by one of our 2023 LP Graduates.
He is asking about his experience so far as a Freshman at a top college in America.He was asking in wonder (not criticism), as he is easily able to manage his time, make a work plan, execute with excellence, and still have plenty of social and leisure time.
He continued: "Why did Acton seem so hard? Looking back, I feel like I could have done all of the work I managed to do in one year in a matter of weeks. Why did that feel so hard at the time?"
As usual, the questions are more insightful than the answers and the possible "answers" are as vast as there are heroes in the world!
My point in sharing: This hero's simple question is a testimony that Acton Works. Of course, those brave owners and families inside Acton know it isn't any system that "works"--it is a hero that "works." We don't trust the Acton system or school, rather we radically trust our young heroes to do hard things.
A hero that answers the call, plays a game, is a friend, makes mistakes, has hard conversations, gets a strike, shares openly, finds the challenge zone, loses a badge, feels the fire of injustice and simply keeps doing it over and over and better and better as he shapes his character & habits to be more consistent with his innate potential.
Acton does work to grow incredible humans who will not stop until they accomplish incredible "work" in the world, because that is what they have trained themselves to do. This, of course, most predictably happens while being supported in a system that offers guardrails and tools that foster the rising.
The complexity and the mess is why the work of Acton feels so hard and "the real world" feels so easy.
So my encouragement to parents and fellow owners alike... let those broken systems get created! Let the Hero Buck system be messy! Let the distraction monster rage (but not without some wonderful questions to serve as the most powerful arsenal we can offer) and finally, take a deep breath! This game is about humans, and humans are about becoming. It is a process NOT a product. It isn't your job to solve it. It is your job to hold a space for heroes to test processes as they practice the becoming. Eventually, they will ask... "Why is this so easy?"...and you?You'll get really good at solving something else.
Cheering Your Beautiful Messes On,