Stripping Down at the End of Year Seven

Year Seven is said to be the Age of Reason.

And then there is the Seven Year Itch.

It must have been a combination of the two that woke me up to a new reality:  I am not the “Head of School” of Acton Academy.

Over the past seven years, we have stripped some of the most “school-y” words from our Acton language – teacher, classroom, textbook, grades, finals, for example.

Now it is time to strip one more – my own title.

“Head of School” conjures up a vision of the Principal’s office where troublemakers are sent and excused absence slips are delivered. The title reflects a power structure that doesn’t exist at Acton.

Our leadership doesn’t filter down from one person.  While Acton owners and guides carry ultimate authority over curriculum standards, schedules and safety boundaries, the Eagles are true leadership partners with us. They have a baseline of choices and leadership opportunities but earn more freedoms over time through hard work and helping to uphold the standards of excellence.

What young heroes need more than a Head of School is a Chief Encourager, a person who calls out their courage and carries the torch of excellence so they don’t lose sight of it. Trusting that we won’t deny them this torch will give our children faith in themselves. They then become their own best encouragers to seek their inner gifts.

George Elliot spoke to this:  “Excellence encourages one about life generally; it shows the spiritual wealth of the world.”

Parents on this journey need encouragement, too. Our road can be lonely and rough. We, too, can forget our inner gifts and feel the tug toward the disillusioning seduction of mediocrity.

My hope is that my next series of posts will encourage you to find your strong and happy stride in your journey as an Acton Parent.

 To honor the spiritual wealth within each child, I am now signing off…as your Chief Encourager.