Three Traps and a Preventive Posture for Parents Guest post by Laura Sandefer

It’s the beginning of the year and the Eagles are learning the processes and systems that will help them soar for the long haul.  For parents, these early days can feel baffling and stressful. But hold tight. With each day that passes, your child is learning the ropes and will be able to teach you everything you need to know about Freedom Levels, Badges, and Journey Tracker before you can say “Pyramid of Intentionality.”

In the meantime, parents can get geared up to support their Eagles’ journeys by knowing the three trapsalong the road:

  1. Resistance: All Eagles go through the doldrums now and then. But a real resistance to achieving goals becomes a fear-based habit that’s hard to break. The studio systems are built to send up a flare so Eagles don’t get so far down the road of resistance that there’s no easy way back to the path of progress.
  2. Distraction: We embrace a laser-focused purpose for studio life at Acton Academy. It’s literally written on the walls. When an Eagle chooses to push or pull others away from our sacred purpose, the boundary systems kick in quickly. The nips and tugs Eagles experience as they cross boundaries will serve them well in the long run as they learn self-control and intentional decision-making.
  3. Victimhood. Playing the part of a victim is the worst trap of all. Blaming others. Not taking responsibility for personal choices. Criticizing the rules, systems or processes without offering ideas or solutions.  Saying, “It’s not fair.” Punching out angry emails rather than pondering possibilities. Through the Honor Code, studio contract, Eagle Bucks, and conflict resolution processes, our Eagles will learn to pull themselves out of this trap and move beyond it to accept responsibility and grow. That’s what heroes do.

There is a powerful two-part mental posture we parents can hold to help our children from falling into these traps.  (For those of us in the habit of defending on behalf of our children or blaming without questions, this posture will take time to practice – like getting flexible enough to touch our toes.) Practice holding these two things at once:

  • Curiosity
  • Open-mindedness

Rather than getting mad, defensive and blaming the school or others because your child lost an Eagle Buck or got an Honor Code violation or is in a low Freedom level, ask some open-minded questions of your Eagle with a sincerely curious heart: Why do you think that happened? Why is that process in place? What could you have done differently? What can you do to fix this?

And then send them back in the game. It’s the only way they’ll find their way out of the trap.

A few effective words to share as you encourage your Eagle: I’m curious how you are going to deal with this. This is hard and I trust you can do it.  I can’t wait to watch you move forward.  I believe in you. I love you.