Lesson Two: Getting to the Magic of Parenting

Laura Sandefer

February 1, 2018

First, be curious.

Second, make decisions out loud.

Do you let your children hear how you decided to oversleep, pay your bills, read that particular book, forgive your friend?

Do they see you claiming responsibility for your life in little ways or do they see you often blaming a system or a person when things don’t go your way?

Do you let them see you admit being wrong? Making a bad decision? Dealing with consequences?

At Acton Academy, our Eagles learn early that their choices matter. They have great power to make decisions and know that there are real consequences to each one. The processes in our studios are designed to shine the light on this power and to provide tools to help make them make good decisions and to recover from poor choices.

A few of the decision-making tools Eagles are equipped with are: Urgent/Important Matrix, Pro-Con; Challenging Assumptions, and Asking for Different Perspectives.

This is one of the ways Acton Academy turns learning upside down. In a traditional school, children are told what to do and when to do it. This sets them on a perilous path when they must venture out into a vastly complex and merciless world.

We had a college student over for dinner the other night and he was upset about not knowing how to decide what job to look for after graduation. Our sons looked at him in consternation and later asked us, “How does he not know how to decide what to do?” After years of the Acton method, it just seems natural for them to think through decisions methodically without a high level of stress.

Acton parents are the bravest people I know because they are willing to make courageous choices for and with their children. They are willing to get out of their own comfort zones to set their children free to learn how to make hard decisions. It would be so much easier to tell our children what to do and protect them from failing. But the Acton parents I observe are willing to smash the common idols of the average parent: being right, being in control and looking good to peers.

Our learning philosophy at Acton is: Clear thinking leads to good decisions. Good decisions lead to good habits. Good habits lead to strong character. Strong character determines destiny.

Like charity, this philosophy begins in our homes. Parents get to be the role models of clear thinking and good decisions.

So pull out the scratch pads and let your children help you weigh the pros and cons the next time you need to make a decision.

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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.