Laura Sandefer

June 1, 2019

Session Seven may be my very favorite Acton oddity. To be in school in June and July and to feel joy about it? It’s true.

Yes, the Eagles continue to show up ready to work, play and grow – like all year. But there’s a downshifting of gears this session. With summer, comes a spaciousness on campus.

Maybe it’s the energy of older Eagles coming and going from apprenticeships. Or maybe it’s their Art Quest that infuses the studios with the generosity and joy of creative work. Or could it be the younger Eagles embarking each week on a new quest designed by the “fifth graders” to grow their curiosity?

Whatever the reason for the magical feel of summer session, I treasure it. There is a sense of easy living that is worth inhaling – and then slowly exhaling. And then inhaling again.

I offer you my three summer parenting gifts so you can bring the magic of session seven home:

Gift 1: Freedom to grow: Act like the Eagles. You are free to learn more. Read more. Create more. Try something brand new. You’ll begin to feel that childlike wonder return. Remember the key to growth is getting out of your comfort zone. Most powerful is to ask your child to hold you accountable in your learning. You’ve got a great running partner in an Eagle. And your courage to learn will feed theirs. Plus, parents are just more fun to be with when they are energized by their own curiosity and learning rather than focused on their children’s goals.

Gift 2: Permission to do less: Do less parenting. Less pampering. Let your children do more for themselves. Trust them. Things won’t go as perfectly as when you do everything, but summer is the perfect time to let it go. Seriously do less. Your relaxing on the “doing” equips your children in their own learning:

“Children who are surrounded at home by excess in the way of toys and pampering require greater talent and effort on the part of the teacher over a longer period of time to reach regular, deep, and lengthy engagement.” Donna Bryant Goertz, author of Children Who are Not Yet Peaceful.

And from Alfred Adler, Austrian physician and psychotherapist: “I believe pampering children is one of the greatest evils of mankind.”

Gift 3: Space to wonder. Cut something unnecessary out of your schedule. You, too, get to experience some of that spaciousness we feel in the studios this summer. Sit and think. What do you wonder about? What do you question? What do you desire? You may want to start writing down the thoughts that arise in these spacious times. Let summer be a whispering – to yourself. Who knows what you will hear?

You now have more freedom, permission and space – feels like summer to me!

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Middle School is where young people rapidly start owning their education. Middle school is the perfect time to develop intellect and character while gaining a deeper sense of self and the real world. Students have a broad palette of topics to study and pair in-depth academic exploration with real-world connections to experts and local apprenticeships. Middle School is about deepening a passion for individual subjects while broadening your understanding of yourself and your future.