As our winter break comes to an end, Herb and I sat down to review our girls’ prior school session. It was nice to have the time to hear where they have grown, where they were challenged and what they look forward to exploring in the next session.
Toward the end of sitting with Sonia, I asked her what if anything she would have done differently this last session. Her answer was not related to academics or extracurricular work, though I would have welcomed anything she offered. After a minute or so of reflecting, she said, “I would like to be more aware of my emotions and how I am feeling, so that when I am angry I can know it and then choose how to act”. Wow. I am biased because a lot of what I study, practice and share is in the area of self-awareness and self-regulation, but that Sonia seems to feel that this is important for her at the age of eight is simply fantastic.
Among the things that Sophia shared, she observed that prior to the past session she would often choose not to speak during group discussions because she was afraid of making a mistake. At some point this year, this shifted and she began speaking up. The fears had not subsided, rather she was discovering the courage to meet them. I am so happy that Sophia has the space to experience this shift, and to observe and reflect upon it at the same time. Change and transformation are a part of life, sometimes taking us a few steps back, other times steps forward. The larger impact manifests when we are aware of the changes that are taking place, irrespective of the direction. Whether it is being awake to our fears, emotions or beliefs, our awareness itself is the real catalyst for discernment and, in time, evokes actions that feel authentic, skillful and heartfelt.
Many of the things that my girls are learning, or, at the least, are being exposed to at the age of eight and ten, I only truly began to understand and explore in my late twenties. To this end, I am immensely grateful to all of the guides and the founders of Acton Academy. They have created a wonderfully fun, nurturing and challenging environment that supports and encourages them on their path.
As far as Sophia and Sonia, it seems the seeds of self-inquiry and awareness have taken root and I look forward to seeing how they flourish in the years to come.
**If you would like to read more about Acton Academy, feel free to visit their website at http://www.actonacademy.org.