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A Hero's Journey

As the school year comes to a close, we (parents, students, and even those not involved in formal education) can use this time to acknowledge and celebrate this most unusual of years. While the challenges have been many and there might be ideas and phrases that we hope to never hear again (I’m looking at you “unprecedented” and “synchronous learning”), we have each grown so much in ways we might never have expected.

In his book _The Hero with a Thousand Faces_, Joseph Campbell identified the “hero’s journey,” a type of story that he found in the mythology and stories of cultures around the world. This past year, we have each been Campbell’s reluctant hero, forced into a quest into an unknown world with little warning or preparation. There have been battles and losses and lots of uncertainty, but there have also been new ways of connection with people who might not even share our geographical space and many lessons learned along the way. We have had to look hard at our priorities and our spaces and reassess our work/life balance and how we are in community with others. And, as we slowly enter back into the known world, like Campbell’s hero, we find ourselves to be changed individuals, bringing new wisdom, strengths, and awareness. The pandemic and the many stressors of the year might not be over, but we have all come so far already.

I encourage you now to take time to pause, take a deep breath, and reflect upon all of the new knowledge, skills, and strengths that you have gained over this past year. And truly celebrate that. The journey has not been easy, but you have been nothing short of heroic.

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