out in the world

Selected speaking events, writings, quotes, and contributions to magazines, websites and books.

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Summer of Love. Each week we do something just a little bit different. A small twist on regular life. Last week was choose-your-own-emotional-adventure. Everyone in the family got to author their own experience.

This week you don’t get a choice. I’m telling you what to do. Which may feel like a surprise, since being bossy isn’t my usual Summer of Love style.



I’m not really going to tell you what to do.

But I am going to tell you how to feel.

Yep. Bossy. Because I’ve been watching closely—my friends, my colleagues, my clients—and I’ve seen something recently. We all need a bit (or a lot) more Joy.

Joy holds a unique space in our emotional experience. It’s lighter than happy, more carefree than content. It is the surprise emotion that sneaks up inside of you, bubbles out, and then floats away.

Joy tends to be coy. At least for adults. For us she hides in plain sight. She’s there during the most boring times. And especially during the most painful times. But as we grow up, we forget what she looks like. We don’t recognize her invitation to play.

Joy shows up when we suddenly realize the burden we’ve been carrying belongs to someone else entirely.

Joy arrives when we see a task we thought would be filled with drudgery is surprisingly bright.

Joy reveals herself when we drink a soda too fast and it fizzes out our nose and everyone in the room laughs and laughs and laughs. And laughs.

Remember her now?


I thought so.

This week, we’re going on a joy hunt. Watch for her. Lift up heavy rocks, look in dark corners. The places you think are the least likely for her to be? That’s where you’ll find her.

Still need help? Follow your kids. Observe them from an anthropologist’s perspective—watching the customs of a different culture. See that? There joy is. Our child’s constant companion.

Wait. What? Constant? You’re thinking I haven’t seen your kids lately. I’m not saying our kiddos are always joyful, or joy-filled. (I mean, let’s be real, remember what happened the day before yesterday at your house? I certainly remember what happened at mine.) Joy isn’t always on–but she is always there.

Joy is an emotional firefly—patiently waiting to shine.

So this week, hunt for joy. Relentlessly. Make it a family event. Have everyone looking for her. Find her, but don’t try to trap her. The magic of a firefly isn’t felt when we capture it in a jar. The magic happens when we see the momentary flash. And then trust impatiently it will appear again.

Joy. She’s out there. She’s right next to you. She’s within you. Enjoy her. Here’s to your Summer of Love.


p.s. The joy-er part? hearing from you. I’d love to know where you (and the kids!) found joy this week. You can send me an email, or join the conversation here.

p.p.s. Want to make sure you are signed up for Summer of Love emails? Have friends you know will love Summer of Love? click right here to get all signed up. Love the Love.

p.p.s.s. worried you missed a little joy? Here’s week 1 summer of love.

MAY 17th, 2018 6:30 pm

Social and Emotional Roots: What can grow out of an education based on relating to the whole child.

MAY 16th, 2018 begins at 6:00 pm


Come joins me for a viewing of the movie Screenagers, followed by a discussion where we address key and surprising elements of the film and how to have healthy screen experiences for our kids.


MAY 14th, 2018 6:30 pm

Raising our T(w)eenagers: Bombarded by peers about school, social life, and choices, how to help our kids grow during the middle school years.

MAY 11th, 2018 7:00 pm

Brains, Bodies & Behavior: how to help our daughters grow during middle school.

APRIL 24th, 2018 6:30 – 8:00 pm

Be. Here. Now. and 7 other secrets to transforming discipline


MARCH 10th, 2018

At the Expanding Your Horizons STEM conference for middle school girls on the SPSCC campus, I’ll be speaking about Brains, Bodies & Behavior: how to help our daughters grow during middle school. As a total science geek, I’m thrilled to be a part of this day!


Tread Lightly. It is tempting as the story unfolds to follow every moment on the news and social media. Don’t. Turn it off. If you want, check in at the top of the hour for updates. Older kids are getting fatigued into numbness and youngsters often think the replay images are new occurrences.

Talk even though it’s tough. We hope that if we don’t bring it up, our children won’t know what happened. Yet once they are school aged, if we don’t speak up, they will hear the news from a hundred other sources. Don’t fret about the words you use, simply start the conversation. State your truth, “This is hard for me to tell you…”

Speak in Sound Bites. Give children brief facts and information. Then listen. Listen to the nuance of their confusion, questions and comments. Follow their lead. Then (re)assure them. Give them space to weep and wonder. Listen for the emotions that are under their words, assure them that all of their feelings matter. Let them to know that you are here. That together you are bigger and stronger than any disaster. That you will be present for them, no matter how overwhelming life feels.

Stay the Course. We all thrive on routine, and this is especially true in times of trauma. Keep children on their regular schedules. Familiarity breeds comfort.

Look at Each Step. Yes, the media will focus injury and death. But we can talk about life. And all the days each person had before today. And all the people who loved them, and whom they loved. And how, even after someone is gone, they are not gone. They are within us.

Remind Them of all the Helpers. Show children how many responders there are. Doctors, nurses, emergency personnel, teachers, faith leaders, community members—everyone involved is supported by a dozens of adults. As Mister Rogers said  “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” Look at all of the helpers here.

Become a Helper. Look for those who need support. It may mean donating resources, time or expertise. Help your kids find ways to contribute. When we give of ourselves, we learn we are capable. When we realize we can overcome, our resiliency for future events is stronger. By finding their own voice in this tragedy, they learn that they can make a difference in the world, no matter what events unfold.

Would you like additional support or help? For yourself, family or community? Contact me here.