Mentors Scaffold Our Kids to “Do It Scared”

- Written by Kristy Ratcliffe, Springhouse Parent -



Our family has an attitude to challenges that boils down to “Do It Scared.” Now, this is different to the shoe company’s “Just Do It.” We don’t just do it, but rather we acknowledge the fears that arise when presented with a challenge, name the fear and see it for what it really is, and then do it when we are ready. The approach applies whether the challenge is something ordinarily scary, like jumping out of a tree into the river, or something big-time scary, like making the leap from homeschooling to institutional schooling or leaving home and moving to the other side of the world.


At Springhouse, our children have already been supported to do it scared as they embarked on their first Experience Week. We left our home in Australia in March this year. After 6 months of traveling, moving from place to place, and living out of suitcases, we settled into a house and the anticipated school year began. Understandably stressed, their resiliency stretched to its limits, the lead-up to the

trip was an emotional process for both of them, in different ways. Leaving their parents to travel to a big city in a foreign country with a group of people they only recently met didn’t feel safe. After four orientation days connecting and co-creating with the staff and other students at Springhouse, and ceremoniously forming their mentor-mentee relationship, we as parents were sure they had the scaffolding necessary to face this challenge and do it scared.


The highly emotional farewell on the morning of their trip to DC was brimming with tears but also with courage. Watching our children face up to a wall of fear, I was able to support them with a firm and loving message of, “You’ve got this, and your mentor and the others have your back. You are absolutely safe, physically and emotionally.” The immense confidence I have in the integrity, love, and support provided by Springhouse Community School gave me strength to lift them up to face this challenge. They were ready, they had what they needed, and they had a blast.


Published on September, 17 2018

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