Please Do Not Be Afraid of Tension

Rather than use my words to explain why we allow our children to experience tension as part of our vision for transforming the world, I will share a passage from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail:

“But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word ‘tension.’ I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.  Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.”

At Acton Academy, we create “tensions of the mind” and walk away so that our children may wrestle, sometimes in angst, and push themselves and each other to new “heights of understanding.”

I challenge myself as a parent to rest peacefully in my children’s inner tension rather than ease it and rob them of such a straight path to growth.

(Thank you to Rachel Davison and the Eagles at Acton Academy Guatemala City for sharing this passage used in their dialogue this week.)