Acton Academy Omaha

A heart of inclusion

Leadership and power. Two words that often get mixed up and confused – like the swirling gray mist of a dense fog, or the the stickiness of fingers after eating a piece of bread dripping with honey.

“When is it a power issue and when is it leadership?” our oldest hero asked one day as we were reflecting on his journey so far at Acton. His tendency to step out and create games during free time coupled with his strong voice and presence had caused him to create a following. Many went along with his ideas. On the other hand, his tendency to elevate his position in the game and tell the others what to do also created frustration in some.

“When you are being a leader, are you thinking more about yourself or more about others’ needs?” I asked.

“Others, I think,” he replied. His eyes lit up like a lightbulb. “And power is about yourself!” he concluded with a smile.

One day, as we were getting ready to go outside to play, chaos and distraction were reigning. Spark heroes were playing with each other – no shoes on their feet, no water bottle or snack in their hands. Elementary heroes were attending to themselves, at times trying to get the Spark heroes to get ready, and at other times giving up and just talking amongst themselves.

They know the guardrail: Out of respect we don’t walk past the Thrive Space businesses to go outside until everyone is ready, lined up and quiet… no matter how long it takes.

We know that pain + reflection + growth mindset = deep learning and change. This situation was no different; a great opportunity for leaders to rise up.

Finally, enough was enough for our Elementary heroes. As we circled up to reflect on what was/wasn’t working in our transition times, our oldest Elementary hero had a idea: the buddy system. “What if we each have a buddy, and each help them get ready and focused?” The vote was unanimous. Everyone found a buddy they would help next time.

Let me tell you – it worked.

Now, instead of feeling annoyed by the Spark heroes’ slowness, kindness began flowing from one studio to the other. Conduits of connection were spreading as fast as cracks in ice. Our oldest heroes were now the “buddy” of our youngest; walking slowly beside them, helping them remember to be quiet, helping them open the big, heavy door. We have discovered a fresh synergy that is bringing joy, peace and inclusion.

Love in motion.

A tribe is emerging.