Letting Go of the Reins

As an Acton Academy Guide, one of our most challenging jobs is to let go of the reins and hand over more responsibility to the learners. As a mom and reformed control freak, this has not only been challenging but also terrifying. I've had to completely surrender to trust and be patient.

Trusting in the learners has brought me great serenity and calmed the anxieties around all the "what ifs". Believing that each learner is exactly where they should be on their journey allows me to step back and give each learner the space they need to find their way to their own path in their own time.

Patience (another ever-developing trait of mine) means that I have to surrender to growth not happening on my timeline. This goes hand in hand with trusting in the innate wisdom and guidance within each learner. They each have their own unique path to greatness, and I have to continue to remind myself that I don't have their personal life map in front of me. Only they can see their current path they are on and the ones lighting up just ahead.

This past week, we witnessed another beautiful example of a hero navigating their way on their path.

One of our heroes was their own worst enemy. Every time the slightest challenge presented itself, they would close their computer and quit saying it was "too hard". Despite several weeks of guidance, coaching, and bread crumb laying, the hero continued to sit in a dark, self-loathing space and refused any help. 

After a pow-wow with their parents, our game plan for home and school was to hand over the reins to the learner. The learner was in a dark room and needed to find the light switch on their own. They needed to build confidence in themselves and find the intrinsic motivation to want to turn on the light and see. 
In the dark, there would be natural consequences in being weeks behind everyone else for the E-ship Quest. They would have to report no progress again at the daily SMART goal debrief. They had to ask for help and take a step towards helping themself if they wanted to make progress. They had to do the work and flip the light switch.

It took less than a week for the hero to find the light switch and flip it on! 

Sometimes all it takes is giving a person a little bit of space and time for them to get back on their own path and take back the reins of their own success.

Hi, I'm Sarah Cheek.

Co-founder and Head of School at Acton Academy Seacoast

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