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Lesson One: Getting to the Magic of Parenting in Two Words

Acton Academy Mesilla Valley

Lesson One: Getting to the Magic of Parenting in Two Words

Laura Sandefer

Jan. 24, 2018

As promised, I want to share some of the best lessons I’ve learned about learning, families, parenting and human growth over the past 10 years.

The first lesson sets us up with a way of thinking and living that is transformative for family living. And it’s just two words.

Be curious.

I’m not talking about the simplistic kind of curiosity that asks one question and moves on. I’m talking incessant, imaginative, soul-fed curiosity that gets you out of your guarded, protective adult self and brings back your child-like wonder in terms of the world, the people around you, your own mind, your children’s thoughts, the birds lined up perfectly on the wire, the beat of your heart, the scent of chocolate.

One simple way to begin getting more curious as a parent is in daily conversations with your child. When they say something, dig deeper into their words with at least three follow up questions – even just “why?” three times. You’ll be amazed at how much you will learn.

Being a curious parent sets you free from your rigid agendas and plans; and moves you to a state of flexibility, wonder, and growth. This makes you the greatest role model for your child in terms of their own learning and living proof of the old saying that “curiosity is the cure for boredom.” Plus, it makes you really fun to live with.

It’s easy to get dragged down into the nitty-gritty of surviving as parents. I was doing that just this morning.

But we have it inside ourselves to think and live differently just by becoming more open to the wonder and mystery around us. Even when it’s in a big pile of dirty laundry.

As my mother always said, “God is in the nitty-gritty.”

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New Series: What Can Parents Do to Support Their Children’s Learning at Acton?

Acton Academy Mesilla Valley

New Series: What Can Parents Do to Support Their Children’s Learning at Acton?

Laura Sandefer

Jan. 22, 2018

Remember back to your six-year-old self.

The world was full of possibilities. You were a natural learner. Deeply curious. Maybe you even considered yourself a superhero.

What if you were right?

What if children can do far more than we ever imagined?

I have a distinct memory of jumping off a small cliff with an opened, black umbrella thinking I could fly like Mary Poppins. Even though I landed with a thud, my spirit wasn’t squashed. It was a few years later in the confines of a classroom that I learned to suppress such frivolous imaginings and listen to the teachers who told me what I could and could not do.

Education. Common Core. Student/teacher ratios. Control. Regurgitation. Oversight. Testing. Nineteenth-century solutions for a 21st-century world.

Perhaps this works for some. But only up to the point where we ask the question: What if children can do far more than we ever imagined?

Google shares information. Uber shares cars. Airbnb shares rooms. What if children could share learning with each other? In a tightly bound community? With high standards of excellence and access to the greatest teachers and information in the world?

This is the vision of Acton Academy. But it is more than a vision. It is a reality and we see it playing out daily. As I walk through our studios, I find myself shaking my head in wonder. I am awed by the grit, courage, intentional decision-making, clear insights and creative intelligence of the children in our midst. I also see the wonder of transformation taking root in these young lives

How can we as parents ensure we don’t get in the way of this wide open feeling of discovery, learning, and growth? How can we stoke the light in their eyes even if the world around them tries to tame it or even snuff it out? How can we support their growth when our own fears hold us back?

I have some ideas and will be sharing them with you over the next week in a series of posts here. Stay tuned.

(You may also find inspiration at our Open House on Thursday, February 1 at 6 pm, Acton Academy, 2201 Alexander Avenue, Austin, TX; or by reading our family’s journey to freeing our children in my book, Courage to Grow – How Acton Academy Turns Learning Upside Down available on Amazon.)

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