It’s a Donut Day

It was Monday. A Donut day.

On the way to the studio, early in the morning, my car tire went completely flat and my husband was nearby to help. On went the “donut” tire. Although a bit challenging, I just smiled inside, shrugged my shoulders and declared it a “Donut Day”. Ironically, I was already planning a launch to introduce the “Donut Challenge” where we use the metaphor of a donut to describe when we are in our comfort zone, challenge zone, or panic zone, and how we learn the most when we are in our challenge zone, where all the “tasty nutrients” are. As we walked to the park and the heroes saw my funny-looking yellow-rimmed tire, I told them it was a donut day and they were excited to see what would come next! They were excited to find out that they WOULD be eating a tasty donut as part of the activity. 😉

The heroes have grown this week in learning how to work together to complete challenges. They enjoyed un-knotting themselves in the “Human ‘Knot So Fast’ Challenge”, and safely crossing the lava-infested land blindfolded with the help of their peers. The best part of all is seeing how their team work and creativity is expressing itself on the playground. They create different games like “Who’s King on the Playground” and I hear them tweeking it to include lots of Kings and Queens instead of just one. Most recently, they are exploring their superhero powers as each plays the part of a different superhero! They’ve created different ways that they lose their superhero powers and different ways that they gain them back. And of course, whenever they hear the whistle blow of the train, everyone says “TRAIN!” and everything stops for a moment as they run to the fence to watch and listen in awe.

We explored some new activities during our Stations work time this week! Magnet tiles, Marble run, Locks and keys and Legos are still definite favorites. Heroes are also exploring making up their own songs on the piano, as well as creating art through tracing metal shapes, and exploring a few new math montessori works. It has been fun to see how well they are engaged and focused during this time.

The heroes are also making progress in their responsibility to honor the studio by keeping it clean. As they have been learning how to do their job and learning how to stay focused, studio maintenance time for our small space has taken up to 1 hour to complete some days. Whew! However, as they keep practicing, each day has gotten easier for them. In fact, they worked so well together on Friday of this week that it took only 1/2 as much time as normal. We celebrated with extra playtime outside! 🙂

One other fun addition we experienced this week was our first organized “Gym time” led by the staff of Lifestyle Fitness (located inside Thrive Space). The heroes loved feeling like they were training for “American Ninja Warrior” as they jumped, climbed, carried, bounced and ran through the various stations. We are so grateful for their partnership in our Acton mission!

This next week the heroes will continue reflecting on our initial studio guardrails of 1) I promise to keep the studio sacred 2) I promise to speak with kindness, encouragement and truth, and 3) I promise to never distract myself or others. The heroes will begin experimenting with any additional promises they would like to include as a part of their studio contract to each other, as we look ahead to sharing our created contract at our first session exhibition in just under 3 weeks! Will the heroes step up to the plate and choose to finish it in time? Stay tuned to find out! 🙂

Our First Week

Wow! What a beautiful week it has been.

Has it been perfect? No, not at all. Have there been bumps and bruises? Yes, most definitely. And yet, so much growth has happened already in our growing Tribe.

Kindness is growing. Creativity and Courage is sprouting. It is fun to see.

One of the Heroes’ favorite times of day is playing outside on the playground. They create games like, “I’m the mom/dad/brother/sister/baby” and “Rocks are Lava!” In addition, many of our Heroes have a fascination with practicing to earn the right to win the game show, “American Ninja Warrior”. So you will often see them climbing up the slides, on top of the monkey bars – they love challenging themselves and showing off what they can do. The best part about it? They are free to explore and create. As a guide, I get to sit back, take it all in and cheer them on. Excitement and joy for living is beginning to take root in their hearts. And, they are learning how to respect the others around them in a moment-by-moment way. So beautiful.

We’ve also been learning what it means to be a Hero this week. The Heroes LOVE the short video about the Hero’s Journey found here and request to watch it daily. Through various Studio Challenges this week like the “Paper Airplane Challenge” and the “Marshmallow Tower Challenge” where they face genuine obstacles and even the disappointment of failure, instance by instance they are learning more of what it means to be a hero – to keep trying even when it’s hard, and to get back up when they fail.

One such instance, where a younger hero’s team had “failed” both times at the marshmallow challenge (and he didn’t get to earn an extra marshmallow to eat), he began crying. Another hero had compassion on him, and decided to give him her marshmallow that she had finally won! That act of kindness made an impression on everyone around.

We are beginning to find our rhythm with the heroes working together and leaning on each other through each challenge we face. Challenges like choosing intentionality over chaos, or focusing in on the needs of the group instead of whatever whim a hero may be feeling in a given moment. 🙂

Day, by day, we are witnessing the sprouting and growing of a strong, beautiful Tribe!

Beginning the Journey Celebration

It was Thursday evening, August 29, 2019. The day when we would officially commit to each other and begin our journey as Founding Heroes and Families of Acton Academy Omaha. 7 excited Heroes and 8 courageous parents crossed the threshold, committing to work hard, be kind, reject victimhood and embrace the journey – and became part of a ground-breaking tribe.

As each family and hero poured their individual color of sand into our sand bottle, it was a magical moment. The very thing that we had all been dreaming of for almost two years had now become a physical reality. We had prepared ourselves. We had prepared the Studio. Now came the biggest challenge of all – to begin building our Tribe of learners. Much excitement mixed with a little fear entered our hearts. Yet as we poured that sand, we linked arms and charged forward together.

The Heroes were invited to go on a scavenger hunt alongside their parents. It led them to discover various places around Thrive Space, secret facts about their fellow studiomates, what in the Studio made them curious, and even invited them to serve a snack to themselves and their parents. With excitement, they grabbed their own clipboard and eagerly collaborated to finish each challenge, working hard to qualify to earn the secret prize at the end. 🙂

As our time together drew to a close, we commemorated the celebration with a toast. Sparkling white grape juice was poured into fancy plastic stemware, and the Hero’s eyes widened. We shared what we are most excited for as we begin, and what we appreciate about each other already. As we clinked “plastics” (instead of glasses ;-), we smiled as we were already discovering something that drew us together the entire time – a tight knit community of lifelong learners. A breath of fresh air. Only a few more days to wait now!

I’m so excited…to be a HERO!!

“Can I tell you something?” little Nora asked with her eyes open wide and excitement she could barely keep in.

“Of course!” I said.

The words came spilling out – “I’m SO excited…TO BE A HERO!!!”

And off she went, finding another new friend to make.

What a perfect snippet of our time together last night for our first ever Acton Family Picnic! We were all together in the same space at the same time- what a precious gathering it was. Our 7 founding Heroes discovered that they are the FIRST EVER Acton Heroes in Omaha! With big eyes, jaws opened wide and lots of cheers, we shared what we are grateful for and ate a picnic together. After supper we played a rousing game of “Who Said That?” where we learned that 3 of our 7 Heroes’ favorite animal is a giraffe, and Thatcher’s favorite food is gnocchi (how do you say that again?!). So much laughter and joy. Then we pretended to be mice in search of our new home… our new Acton Studio! With much anticipation, the little mice scampered up the stairs at Thrive Space and explored the special place where they will soon embark on this special journey together. We ended our time with lots of bouncy balls, playing various games in the gym. So much fun! We can’t wait for our next gathering where each family will be invited in great ceremony to cross the threshold and begin their Hero’s Journey together!