Crossing the Threshold

By Lauren Quinn, Co-Founder & Head of School

On Thursday, we celebrated the beginning of a brand new school year at The Village School. No, it was not our first day of school- it was our second annual launch party, in which families and heroes are invited to tour the studios, meet their Guides, and connect with other families over lunch. In addition, this event serves as an opportunity to announce our overarching question of the year and our seven planned quests (projects) heroes will participate in.

There is one other reason we hold this event each year. It is to explicitly bring attention to the beginning of a new adventure. We call this the “call to adventure”, as we recognize that each family joining us each year has answered this call by choosing an Acton Academy education.

We mark the event symbolically, with a short ceremony, in which our heroes are asked if they accept the call to embark on a Hero’s Journey and then are invited to “cross the threshold” before entering the school. The act of jumping (or stepping) over some type of physical threshold symbolizes the start of something new and serves as the milestone marking the first step of their journeys at The Village school.

This year, the enthusiasm was palatable, and after a loud and resounding “YES!” from most of our heroes, they jumped over a bright green ribbon and swiftly made their way towards their designated studio.

And yet, as expected, not all of our Heroes strode forward with excitement and confidence. For some, particularly our youngest learners, an extended hand of an older Hero or a parent was the reassurance needed to cross the threshold. For a few others, they chose to hang back, entering the building when the crowd had cleared while proceeding with evident caution.

Change is hard. While many individuals embrace change with open arms, it is far more common to resist or avoid change. At some point this year, even our most confident heroes will choose resistance or avoidance when faced with something new or hard. This is part of the journey.

As parents, it’s important to know this is completely normal. Whether it’s the start of a new school year, a new learning challenge, or a new sports team, our children will display the very natural human tendency to resist the change.

When this happens, our job is simple: Validate, Support, Empower.

  1. Validate and normalize: “It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or scared of trying something new.”
  2. Support and share: “I am here for you. Can I tell you about a time I felt the same way?”
  3. Empower: Express your belief in them and their ability to handle change- over and over. “You are going to do great! I can’t wait to hear all about your day.”

Before you know it- the storm will have passed and a new and changed hero stands before you, all the more confident in their ability to handle the next and inevitable challenge that comes their way. And when they are cautiously standing in front of the next threshold, you now have a story of triumph to pull from your back pocket to remind your hero in the making just how capable they really are.

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