Potential - Unpacked
Looking into the eyes of a newborn child you will find no clues about what they may become - a child's potential is a mystery - complex and rapidly evolving on many levels. The essence of your role as parent - your assignment is to help your child grows into all they can be.
In the Acorn Assignment we unpack that potential into six elements, each like the piece of a jigsaw puzzle.
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1. The Right Stuff
A healthy destination...
The first step to unpacking a child's potential, we begin with an end in mind - the right stuff, a combination of a strong inner drive in a direction chosen by your child, occurring in the early teens. Contrary to popular belief, the right stuff doesn’t just happen nor is it a matter of luck, it arises from a healthy interaction between parent and child in the first five years of life - providing the equivalent of the warm moist soil around an acorn, the ideal environment for the potential in your child to germinate and unfold.
2. Wet Clay
A child's potential is like a slab of wet clay on a potter's wheel…
... with each spin of the wheel - with each interaction we are continuously shaping the child in subtle ways.
The second element in our strategy suggests we explore a child’s potential as we would a traditional craft or skill - from a creative curious perspective - what is it and how can we coax it out of the child. We learn by trial and error, circular motion, walk around it see it from many angles and perspectives, we poke at it and probe it with our senses. We cannot study it directly but we can study the causes and conditions that enable it to spring forth.
4. The Sweet Spot
There are no point programs in parenting -no guarantee that all our effort will pay off in any way. On the other hand, to witness the emergence of your child's potential, a.k.a the right stuff - entirely unique to him or her is a sweet spot - a rare and special moment in your personal journey as a parent.
6. A Natural Process
The emergence of your child's potential is a natural process, how could it be anything else?
In a Nutshell...
The Acorn Assignment is:
- A fresh and healthy approach to parenting. The potential in a child is like an acorn, it will lie dormant until it encounters an environment suitable for growth. Our assignment as parents - to establish and maintain an environment that enables the potential in our child and ourselves to sprout, unfold and thrive.
- An instructional program that guides parents to fulfil this assignment in their own way and to the best of their ability with the resources available to them. The program is structured like a craft course, we begin with the basic elements - aka puzzle pieces and through discussion, trial and error progressively build a practical understanding. I am the craftsman, the parent is the apprentice and the potential in the child - a slab of wet clay on a potter’s wheel is the work-in-process.
- A book, scheduled for release in September 2017. Intended as a quick read the book provides the basics of the program enabling the parent to evaluate the fit of the program to their life view. Commencing February 2017, I will be regularly posting content.
- Intentionally lean and narrowly focused on program goals. The program content provides a springboard for personal reflection, discussion and lively debate. There are no stupid questions.
- The study focus of the Acorn Guild - a judgement-free online community of like-minded parents.
- Inclusive - for any parent having the simple desire to do their best - regardless of culture, faith, family structure or sexual orientation.
- A work in process - my Ikigai (noun. Your reason for waking up in the morning, the passion that drives your life).
The first connection that comes to mind, between the Sweet Spot and the Right Stuff is much more subtle that it appears. It is not about having the trophy child that stands above the rest, in fact reaching the Sweet Spot is independent of the what, when or how of the Right Stuff. The Sweet Spot is knowing within yourself that you did the best you could to help your child be all they can be.
Wet clay - craft is one piece of the puzzle and the other pieces are the elements of that craft. If I were talking about painting in acrylics, the five pieces might be the paintbrush, the ground or canvas, paint, colour, perspective. The elements seem strange to begin with but as you explore and work with them your comfort level goes up. For most parents it will take time, patience and persistence - there will be rewards along the way, indicators you are on the right track.
I created the Acorn Assignment to help parents unpack, explore and enable the potential in their child and themselves. The Acorn Assignment is based in part on my experience raising three sons born in 1983, 1985 & 1986. As a new dad I was puzzled – something was odd about the parenting practices of the day and what was expected of me. Armed with the endless curiosity of an eight year old and the belief that parenting is the most important thing we do in our lives, I looked for a better way.
The Acorn Assignment is not an intellectual exercise - it is a toolkit of practical strategies and simple techniques to implement in the trenches of modern day parenting. It is intended for any parent with the simple desire to help their child be all they can be.