A stake in the ground – etched in our hearts
Our heroes have embarked on a journey where they are experiencing the excitement that comes with challenges overcome and the struggle that comes from growth and learning. They are learning how to get back up when they fall, choosing hope and power in the face of trial. Day to day, growth can seem insignificant and slow. However, as we stop to reflect and remember where we’ve come from, we see the beautifully imperfect progress we’ve made. This idea came to life in our first-ever studio exhibition we hosted for the parents at the end of our first session – a time to draw a line in the sand and choose to commit to what it means to be a part of our Acton Omaha community. Life brings about small moments where we must decide; those small decisions become a stake that is driven down into our hearts, orienting us to who we are choosing to become.
In the days leading up to the exhibition, the heroes came up with their own ideas of what our foundational guardrails meant to them: 1) I promise to keep our studio as a sacred place; 2) I promise to speak with kindness, encouragement, and truth; and 3) I promise to never distract myself or others. As they collaborated, brainstormed, and worked together to synthesize the ideas into what is most important to them, I witnessed ownership of our culture sprouting up. If a hero saw wrestling in the studio going on, they reminded each other that “no wrestling” was a part of their contract to each other. And they listened. Most of the time :-).
As the heroes arrived to school on the day of our first studio exhibition, much excitement filled the air. Heroes smiled big as they welcomed their parents into their studio, eyeing the different setup of the room, and the special snack displayed upfront. They couldn’t wait to show them all that they’d been learning on their new Acton adventure.
As heroes and parents found their seats, we stepped into a sacred time – the time we had been preparing for since the beginning; sharing our contract of promises with the community and making our choice to commit to it. Each hero, one by one, was invited to the front of the room. Each shared which promise was most important to them and why, then affirmed their commitment to abide by the contract of promises they helped to create – finally signing their name on each of the three parts of the contract. Each felt the gravity of what they were doing, and each made the choice to commit. As they picked out a rose to present to their parents who signed the parent contract alongside, with beaming faces they shared a precious moment as they began this journey, together as a family.
“I think keeping the studio sacred is most important because, you know – this is a really nice place to come and have school…and I want it to stay nice!” one hero shared. Another shared that since the studio has a TV he wants it to be kept sacred. Even one hero, who has struggled at times to share his thoughts, bravely chose to participate. “Speaking with kindness, encouragement, and truth is most important to me because I want to have friends”.
As the heroes went on to share their favorite parts of the studio with their parents, as a guide it was precious to overhear their expressions – sharing about living in their challenge zone, monsters overcome and what they are proud of themselves for. Indeed, this was a special day that has etched a sense of commitment and celebration of growth along the beginning of this journey in each hero!