The Hero’s Journey: Greatness

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Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on

At Acton Academy Salado, we launch our eagles on a Hero’s Journey. This journey begins in Kindergarten, what we call our “Eagle’s Nest” and continues throughout our elementary studio, middle school studio, and into our high school studio (what we call our “Launchpad Studio”). By the time our eagles have completed their Launchpad studio coursework, they are ready to spread their wings and be launched into their personal hero’s journeys.  They know their gifts, what they’re talented at, what their purpose is, and are ready to soar throughout their lives fulfilling their personal callings. They’re ready and some are already flying. They are great people. Seriously.

So, what does greatness have to do with a hero’s journey?  Is this concept even worth your time to read about? ABSOLUTELY! Let me ask you a question:

Do you want your child to be successful or great? 

Don’t scoff at this question. It’s serious. It deserves to be pondered upon with depth. A person can be successful without being great. In fact, most people never take that next step from being successful to being great. Really.  They don’t. They get stuck in their success and then their lives no longer have as powerful of an impact as they could have. They may be considered powerful leaders, but they never reach their full potential. There’s an internal ache in their souls, because mankind was born to be and to aspire for greatness. I’m serious!

Let’s take a look at what we’re naturally drawn towards. We love to hear stories about people who against all odds beat the system that was keeping them down. We love to remind ourselves of heroes past, especially our everyday citizens who morph into Heroes. Remember Todd Beamer and his famous line “Let’s Roll” before taking a plane down? He boarded a plane as a passenger and will be forever remembered as an American Hero.

We spend millions if not billions of dollars on superhero movies. Marvel knows this. Hollywood knows this. It’s etched into our inner beings. We crave greatness and are drawn to it. Some people love it. Some are threatened by it. With that said, let’s use a familiar superhero story as an analogy.

Lex Luthor vs. Superman

Lex Luther was highly successful. Fame. Money. Brand name clothes. Fancy cars. Fancy house. All the right parties. People worshiped him. Paparazzi. Wore black (that’s a thing for some people apparently). Cool shoes. Successful business. Great at negotiating. Etc… Lex Luther was a success.

Superman was great. 

Lex was always jealous of Superman, because he knew that there was something really special about Superman. People ADMIRED Superman. People listened to him. People respected him. People wanted to be Superman. Superman was undeniably amazing and able to change things for the better. Superman lived for others, rescued others, helped others, healed others, and cared for others in his sphere of influence. People love Superman.  Superman had the quiet confidence and composure that only a hero holds.  Lex, he was just bothered by others who were wanting to be associated with him. Respected? Maybe. Loved? No.

Moving forward with our analogy let’s look at this:

Lex was successful, but his success didn’t help him become great. Lex’s success kept him fragile, insecure, and worried/threatened by Superman. Lex’s success had a personal agenda, was selfish, worshiped what he saw in the mirror, what he owned, and could only be beneficial to himself in the moment. It was all about, “What’s in it for me?” Likewise, King Saul felt threatened by the boy, David in the Old Testament.

Superman’s success morphed into him becoming Great. Greatness caused him to step-up from being successful to being a Hero. How did that happen? Because, greatness causes us to look upward (toward God) and outward (toward others). Greatness comes when we are walking within our calling. It celebrates altruism, giving back, paying it forward, and lifting others up no matter the cost. Greatness grieves over what it sees outside and finds ways to positively impact it’s environment, society, and even individuals needing guidance. Greatness leaves a legacy and lasts forever. Likewise, King David.

Society pressures children to be successful and even pressures parents to rear-up successful children. Make the right grades. Go to the right school. Get on the right sports teams. Know the right families. Hang out with the right families. Live on THAT street. Drive that car. Wear that. Marry into that family. Go to that church and sit on that pew and make sure to attend that Bible study. Good grief. This nonsense has crept into our church houses too.

Greatness looks at all the society “rules of success” and shakes its head. That type of living is too taxing and shallow for the human soul. That’s not what Greatness wants on it’s epitaph.

Greatness leaves a legacy.

People on the path toward greatness hit resistance, but they don’t give up. They find more reasons why they can succeed then there are excuses why they can’t succeed. The don’t listen to the naysayers. They don’t pay attention to their pasts because they’re focused on their futures. They don’t get stuck in bitterness, because they’re too busy moving forward. Great minds see walls as opportunities to get stronger. Great people are gritty, resilient, and creative thinkers. Great people are game changers.

“A life unexamined is not worth living,” – Socrates. 

As an Acton Academy Salado parent, I have chosen to abide by Socrate’s advice and examine my life, my parenting methods. What am I modeling for my children? What am I teaching them is truly important in life through my words and actions? I don’t want successful children. I want my kids to be great. I want to know that I birthed Heroes into this world. And, as Head of School at Acton Academy Salado, I look forward to watching your children morph into great heroes too.

Arrow’s up!

Dr. Suz



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