Two and a half hours of gut-wrenching soul testing later...

Hi LP parents,

The afternoon launch began at 1pm...and two and a half hours of gut-wrenching soul testing later, your heroes remained unconquered. Dare I say it was the heaviest afternoon we have had this year? Which is saying a lot considering what the tribe has been through already in half a school year. 

I'm honestly still processing it a bit--trying to understand it all--as I have never quite seen anything like it. What began as an accountability check-in on the Apprenticeship Prep Badge somehow morphed into what I suppose for lack of a better word you would have to call a debate, but instead of words and ideas being slung around the room, it was deeply held beliefs, firm convictions, and bits of heart and mind and soul.  

It wasn't so much that they were challenging or opposing each other in an adversarial way, rather this 'debate' simply  began spitting out a series of personalized trials and tests for your eagles to pass through--each hand-tailored perfectly for where each eagle is on his or her road of trials right now. I'm not sure how the stars aligned (or maybe the fates conspired?) to accomplish this, but suffice it to say I could not have designed it any better myself lol. 

Just to name a few of these tests so you understand what I am talking about, at various points throughout this experience, eagles were faced with demons of whether to...

  • admit truth even when it hurt an argument
  • speak up or remain silent
  • vote with your conscious or with convenience
  • forgive or hold a grudge
  • see the best or the worst in someone
  • take initiative or wait for someone else
  • be courageous or cowardly
  • give up or press on
  • be offended or not
  • take something personal or not
  • believe in yourself when it seems like nobody else does
  • hold on to what you believe is right even when you can't explain it
  • extend justice or mercy
  • hold the line or not
  • stand alone 
The list could be a lot longer...but you get the idea.

And perhaps I misspoke. I said the eagles were faced with these demons. More accurately, they faced down these demons with heroic resolve. They held firm. They each lived through a half dozen or so character defining choices this afternoon--you know the types? Where as unbelievable as it sounds, you make the choice, and are forever changed? You are literally a different person immediately after. In an instant-- a new person. The kind of choices that no amount of theory and thinking can truly prepare you for, where you are unsure of what you will do until the words giving life to your choices come out of your mouth, where you are discovering who you are in the very act of creating who you are, where mere moments later, you are transformed into the hero you have been hoping and aspiring to be, never to go back to your old self. Well that is what was happening right before my eyes today.

Perhaps now you can see what I mean when I say it was a very heavy afternoon. Two and half hours of that. No wonder there were some tears involved. 

And lest the mamma (or papa) bear in you panic about this, I would remind you of a couple things. First, that this is the type of experience that leads to the growth that was one of the main reasons why you signed up for Aim. Second, perhaps you can take comfort in knowing that while it is 100% true that your kids are certainly giving my guiding skills a run for my money as it was all I could do to keep my nose a half inch above the water so to speak (that is to say a half question or half second ahead of the conversation lol) --well remember my last email with the eject handle? Using the same analogy with a different application, I was vigilantly looking for any signs that we needed to throw in the towel and pause the discussion to avoid pushing too far. But those signs never came. 

Frankly, they handled it better than almost all adults I know. 

I find it to be quite the coincidence that this came the day after everyone at Aim signed a new pledge about the road of trials... "Do Not Draw Back" it said. Do not draw back indeed! Your kids gave a world-class example today of what that really means. 

Hi, I'm Lance Stewart.

I'm the founder and Head of School at Aim Academy.

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