Beyond Mere Coaching – Why the Hero’s Journey Works

Scene: Kate (age 10) and Sage (age 9) were working on Khan Academy at a  collaborative table in the elementary school studio. Ms. Samantha, working behind a bookshelf, overheard the following:

Kate: Sage, you have to believe that you can do it.

Sage: I believe that I can’t…

Kate: Well, I believe you can do it.

Sage: Okay, I believe that I can try to do it.

Kate: I believe that if you just put your mind to something and try hard enough that you can do anything. Ellie, don’t you believe Sage can do it?

Ellie (age 9): Yes.

They kept working at it. And Sage got it.

This scene in an elementary school goes beyond children practicing the skill of coaching with Growth Mindset praise. It goes beyond adults stepping back and waiting before intervening to help.

This scene is the fruit of the hero’s journey narrative that has taken root in these young minds. This narrative infuses young people with a belief in themselves and their fellow travelers.

But this narrative does not set up permanent shop. It can wither or be poisoned by cultural falsehoods and pressures.

How do we plant the seed again when we see it has lost ground?

We tell the hero’s story over and over again in a wild variety of forms so they don’t forget.

And who is best to do the telling to my children?

It is I. The parent. The one who knows my children best and sees the light in their souls even when they don’t.

I am so grateful there are Kates, Sages and Ellies to help me along the way.