Power Tends to Corrupt (Year 1, Week 12)
Which do you like more, giving or receiving gifts?
This was the question that launched the second week of this session. The heroes initially all agreed that they preferred giving, until one courageous hero, Jack, chimed in, “to be really honest, I like receiving better.” “Me too”, a few added shyly. This led to an interesting (and season appropriate!) discussion about the value of giving and receiving, and the meaning of Christmas to each hero.
Caden, Betsy, Julianna and Jack all participated in a field trip this Monday as part of their Pitch-a-Pet Quest. Questers earned the opportunity to participate in the field trip by completing their research work last week. We set off to an unknown location with anticipation. The questers were excited to learn that the excursion involved visiting two pet shops, adding real-world value to their quest work this session.
These heroes were particularly happy to see that the pet shops had the animals they each will be pitching to the studio. They were able to undertake further research through the investigation of the pet shop products as well as by asking the store employees questions about the pets. A highlight for the heroes was being able to pet a hamster, guinea pig and bunny during the trip (as well as the ice cream at the end of the excursion!)
As the questers continue to research information about their chosen animals, the whole studio participated in an animal-themed SOLE on Tuesday morning. The question this week was posed:
What is the biggest threat to animals living in the ocean?
With an additional challenge: Find out an interesting fact about an ocean animal that is now extinct.
After discussing their findings, the heroes all voted and the biggest threat was decided on: pollution. Specifically, physical trash in the ocean. The discussion then turned to wondering about where pollution and trash originates, leading to the question; is trash the biggest threat to ocean animals or are we?
As the heroes began writing this week, creative and imaginative stories of adventures in Paris, visiting the North Pole, travelling with the US Airforce and exploring New York city emerged in response to this weeks writing prompt:
The heroes who had finished their first draft were excited to share their stories with their fellow travellers on Tuesday and receive warm and cool feedback to help them refine, improve and publish their stories on Thursday.
Wednesday morning’s launch began with a suspenseful story shared by Kara about her experience of being painfully stung by a scorpion while in an isolated rural village in Cambodia. After highlighting the immense and overwhelming pain, she reflected on the immense and overwhelming gratitude she felt toward the woman who helped her quickly get rid of the pain. The discussion turned to the heroes sharing their own stories and experiences of gratitude.
Each session a different character trait is focussed on and as we enter the Christmas season, gratitude seemed an appropriate and timely focus for this session. The heroes left the launch with the challenge: identify something you are grateful for today and come ready to share it during closing group. During closing, the heroes had an opportunity to share something they were each grateful for. Their responses included: my friends, Heroes Academy, my house and food.
The heroes are also compiling a “thank-you” letter to our studio visitor from last session, Architect Jim Escobar, which they will be sending sometime next week.
After this week’s discussions about giving, receiving and gratitude the heroes decided that a service project would be a great way to show gratitude and help others this Christmas. After brainstorming ideas, the heroes took a vote and decided on two ways to serve others:
- Making gifts and cards to distribute to the people working in the offices near the studio.
- Decorating placemats, lunch bags and cards to be distributed in the community through the Meals on Wheels organization.
Time will be set aside for these activities next week.
This Week’s Big Failure
At the beginning of this week the guides tried a new approach to consequences for those who had lost more hero bucks than they had earned. Instead of waiting until Friday and issuing strikes to those who had -5 hero bucks or more, the guides tracked hero bucks daily, in an effort to help heroes avoid reaching -5 hero bucks. Once a hero had fallen into negative they worked at a separate desk near a guide and signed a contract that outlined a minimum number of points they committed to earning each day.
Although this was implemented in an effort to give heroes more opportunity to earn back their lost hero bucks and better map actions to consequences, it quickly became obvious that it was not valuable or beneficial for the heroes, guides, or the studio community. It put guides in a position of enforcing a contract and taking more power in the studio, lessons we powerfully learned only a week ago. More importantly, it removed the opportunity for heroes to manage themselves.
Once guides identified and acknowledged the failure, it was communicated to the heroes, and the studio then reverted back to it’s previous state. The guides were removed from holding the heroes accountable directly, and the power was back in the hands of the heroes.
For the guides, one quote came to life: “Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
The daily tracking of hero bucks, however, will continue, as it proved to help each hero understand how the choices they were making or not making would affect them from day to day.
The last thing to share for this week are the wonderful gifts Betsy gave to all her studio mates. She spent her hard earned hero bucks and time on buying and making gifts for each one, as well as for the guides. A great examples of the values these heroes have and are developing.
This week’s summary is simple. Christmas is coming, heroes will surprise you with what they know about gratitude, lots of chaos occurs when boys have toy cars, and chaos means a lot of hero bucks lost.
All in all, we’re working hard, having fun, learning tough lessons, and ready for a fun-filled week of Christmas activities to come.