Written by Laura Sandefer and originally posted September 10, 2018
The beginning of a new journey at Acton is a high.
The newfound freedom of being in a learning environment that buzzes with joy and intensity is exhilarating. Our children are nervous and overwhelmed, yet intensely alive with anticipation and eagerness.
But the day will arrive when they come home sad, mad, frustrated, hurt, confused or “bored.”
The honeymoon is over. And the real work of learning and growing has begun.
This is the gritty path of the hero’s journey and it is not for the weak of heart.
So what can we as parents do when it’s no longer fun and our children hit a wall or want to quit?
I have found three traits of a Socratic Guide are also transferable mindsets for me as a parent – especially on the hard days.
Be calm. Emotional outbursts hurt children. As a mom, I can be a safe place for my children when my reaction is a calm, peaceful one. They need to know my honest feelings but they also need to know that I have self-control and my emotions don’t rule me. A zen-like calm is the ideal state for a Socratic Guide. I’ve learned this is powerful as a parent, too.
Be consistent. Our Guides hold boundaries that are clear and agreed upon. There is no confusion about what happens when a boundary is crossed. This has helped me dramatically as a parent. We have our own family covenants so delivering consequences is not emotional or dramatic. It’s consistently clear-cut. Boundaries are actually freeing.
Be confident. “I’m confident in you. I trust you can do hard and important things.” This is the fundamental belief at Acton. We believe every single child is a hero designed to find a calling and change the world. Carrying this mindset into my home has changed everything.
Bottomline: the day will come when suddenly the hero’s journey feels confusing and hard. But you’ve got the perk of stealing from the Socratic Guide handbook and using it to be that safe, trusted, confident and calm parent that a young hero craves to come home to.
(And please know that there are support systems all around if you get overwhelmed with the tough journey of parenting. Just let me know if you ever need ideas for resources to pursue for your own journey.)