The Heroes Journey
Every year we begin our year with “detox week,” which is admittedly a strange name for the first weeks of school. Detox sets the stage for the rest of the year. Its purpose is three-fold:
1. Help kids embrace who they were created to be- ditching any words/labels that aren’t true about them. 2. To help them recognize, affirm, and embrace that others have gifts that we don’t, and that community and collaboration work better when we celebrate each other and build each other (the idea of the body of Christ). 3. That failure and mistakes can be a teacher. Struggle is valuable and results in real learning and growth.
Following detox week we begin our first inquiry block: Who we are. This year, your kids will be exploring Joseph Campbell’s work around the hero's journey. You might be familiar with Joseph Campbell, but even if you’re not, you’ve undoubtedly encountered the heroes journey through Pixar, Disney, George Lucas, or any of your favorite movies. These journeys are driven by questions, curiosity, trust, struggle. We all seem to be drawn into the transformative questions found in the hero's journey:
*Am I really a match for this task? *Can I overcome the obstacles I will encounter? *Who are my friends and allies? *Do I have the courage and capacity for the challenge before me? *Am I enough?
As I was preparing for the first inquiry block, I was struck by how closely the learning journey matches the heroes journey.
We are all “ordinary” learners, but if we’re willing to say yes to new experiences and keep moving forward, even when it’s hard, and it includes failure, we are all on a hero's journey.
People on a heroes journey are heroes not because they have superpowers or extraordinary insight, but because they get back up after falling.
Proverbs 24:16 says that a righteous man falls 7x and rises again.
Not only do they get back up, but they also help others do the same. At Anastasis, your learners have mentors and guides (who you will get to know tonight), but each of your learners is in charge of their own journey.
As educators and parents, it can be difficult to let kids be in charge of their own journey. Our natural inclination is to step in when kids struggle (whether it be with learning or friends). We want to protect kids from the pains of life.
There’s a great quote from the Price of Privilege by Madeline Levine that says: “Parents [and teachers] who persistently fall on the side of intervening for their child, as opposed to supporting their child’s attempts to problem-solve, interfere with the most important task of childhood and adolescence: the development of a sense of self.”
To truly embrace the hero's journey is to recognize our role as guides and mentors. To realize that as soon as we step in and solve for kids, we are taking away their ability to be the hero of their own story. We signal that we don’t believe they are a match for the task, that we don’t think that they can overcome obstacles. We indicate that who they thought was their ally (us) is the hero of the story. That they don’t have the courage and capacity to be the hero.
At Anastasis, our goal is to build student agency; it’s to affirm that each of your kids is up to the challenge. Our role then is an apprenticeship. Simply put, it’s to affirm that they are the hero of their story and we’re here to support them as they gain more freedom and responsibility.
We're excited to partner with you in supporting your child's journey this year!