“What made you sparkle today?” was my question as we sat with our pasta bake in front of us and the crazy-hard jigsaw puzzle at the other end of the table.  “Around the table, everyone has to answer,” I declared.

Without hesitation, our 4-year-old answered, “School.”

She adores her teachers and just that day she swirled her hands in the water table dressed for Valentine’s Day.  So now, she held her fork with red-dyed hands, glorying in the special and mysterious celebration just around the corner. She was sparkling about school.

What if school made all of our children sparkle?  What kind of a world would we live in?  What if learning was at the center of the Table and it made children “sparkle?”


“What made you sparkle this week?” was my question as I sat with some of my team.  While some of us answered “music,” or “my son’s smile,” the most intriguing answer was,

“knowing the mess we’re in will be for our good.”

We chatted about how that particular knowing is knit into a human heart.  For me it is called, “Faith,” one of the most important journeys of a child.  Anyone can have this faith.  Faith is “knowing the mess we’re in, will be for our good.”

If I will trust that what comes to me, is for me” says Barbara Brown Taylor, “that is the greatest faith statement.”  You can watch the video on the Poetry of Pain here.


Learn Forward is about nourishing the sacred work of parents and teachers. In order to do that well, we must hold what is magical, inspiring, and creative in one hand with the ‘mess,’ hurt, and hardship in another hand.  We all have both.  How can we creatively hold divinity and humanity in tension?

“Sparkle in the Mess”






I want to write an anthem, an anthem calling us to sparkle in the mess.  I want to engender courage and resilience; the belief that I can be more.  Sing a song to overcome and transcend.

So here it goes…for this week at least…

We shall take risks, think grandly, love purely, and believe for more.

We shall hope fully, stand for justice, right wrongs, and be brave.

We shall lay down our shields, open our hearts, and move with softness.

We shall fight like there’s no tomorrow and love for an eternity.

We shall trust; all that is here is for our good.

For the sake of the children,


PS The book Learn Forward is filled with stories straight from my heart to nourish the sacred work of teachers and parents.