Growth is painful.

I sat down to listen to Laura Sandefer interviewed in this podcast again recently. It was the second time I had heard it. The first time was 4 years ago. It was in this moment 4 years ago that I cried as a deep sense of knowing washed over me. I was not lost without a calling – no. I was found. In that transformative moment I had discovered my calling to embark on a journey to bring a new kind of educational experience to Omaha.

“Acton isn’t a school,” Laura shared. “It’s a human growth machine. And human growth requires suffering, unfortunately… but you can’t escape that. It’s ok when it’s hard – and it’s going through hard things that makes you who you are.”

This cuts to the heart of it all. I feel a sense of painful angst in my heart as I read her words. And yet, I know it is true.

I often consider, what is the role of pain and suffering in our lives? Is it something to eradicate or something to cherish? And what am I modeling for our children in the midst of all this?

I catch myself in an ordinary mindset at times. An ordinary child, family and parent may resist this pain, or look to blame others as a way to alleviate their suffering. I think we all can find ourselves here. Yet, it’s the heroic child, family and parent who sees it as an opportunity to look deep within oneself and see pain and suffering as a beautiful invitation to untether those old thoughts, habits and mindsets that are not working in life and to embrace the opportunity to create a new, lifegiving path.

This the mindset that the heroes (and guides!) are learning at Acton each day. It’s been quite the transformational journey.

By swinging a backpack over their back and crossing the threshold each morning with a “Good morning,” each young hero embarks on this daily adventure, full of challenges and opportunities to take action and grow. They are learning to take 100% ownership of their lives and the choices to create their own path. I can only imagine lessons like these, etched into their character at such a young age, will blossom over time into one powerful life! This is the “why” behind what brought each of us guides here to Acton Omaha – and it brings us to tears to see firsthand the beautiful growth taking root in each hero, in their own time and way.

I’ll be featuring a few hero transformation stories on upcoming blog posts.

First up… a 4 year old hero who said goodbye to his orange blanket.

Stay tuned!