Do you believe, in general, people are doing the best they can?  Sit with that big question a moment more.  Are people simply doing the best they can?

When I think of this query, I think of all of the people who have been cruel to me.  I don’t mean just rude or inconsiderate.  I mean cruel.  Their words cut into my heart and made a filet of it.

Then, I think of times of crisis, where even people I love very dearly have not ‘measured up’ to my definition of loyalty and commitment.  They hurt me.  They betrayed me.

I slide down this ‘judgy’ path with ease.  At the bottom, I plop into the mud of ‘indignant and self-righteous.’  My perfectionism in full bloom.

As I sit in the filth, pretty sure I am a slow learner, I realize all of my own imperfections.  That’s what comes to me next.  I consider all of the times I’ve let others down and hurt them.  You see, I blew up this notion of ‘perfect’ years ago.  It was another grace of great things.

I write about it in my book, Learn Forward:  An Invitation to the Most Important Journeys of a Child.  What I know for sure, is even in my most crushing failures, “I struggled with all my might.”  I truly am doing the best I can.

As I muse, I turn to curiosity about ‘trust’ and how it is established in my own heart?  In schools?  In the relationship between the teacher, student, and parent, how can we cultivate health?  It is so organic and evolving over time.

I write in Learn Forward,

“Between home and school, I can see the barriers and also the bounty.  I yearn to cultivate the connection between us.  As I imagine the future for children, I am certain we can only achieve transformation, for the sake of the children, together!  I call that place the Table of Learning.”

John Dewey was writing about the notion of cultures of community in schools over 100 years ago!  He was quoting John Addams.  Some fundamentals don’t change.


We’ll discuss cultures of community and the Table of Learning in much greater depth and with more practical applications in Wednesday’s webinar. Please register now.

As a precursor to our conversation, consider this question that Brené Brown posits in her new book Rising Strong: is everyone just doing the best they can?

If we can hold the possibility that everyone is doing the best they can, we can have compassion, be gracious with mistakes and learning, and gather with a soft-heart.  The key ingredients necessary for the Table of Learning will come more easily if we believe in this possibility.

I know I want this for my child.  I want it for me.

In order to create the future we are dreaming of for our children, both teachers and parents must re-imagine a new kind of relationship, one where we gather around what is best in humanity.


No teacher is perfect.  No parent is perfect.  No student is perfect.  We can accept our imperfections if we courageously commit to our process as learners.

This week, who can you digest this question with, “Are people generally doing the best they can?”  I encourage you to check out Brené Brown’s new book Rising Strong to see how her research answered the question.

For the sake of the children,