Every Thorn Has Its Rose

My wife loves watching the rich pageantry, the floral floats, the magnificent marching bands, and the elegant equestrian units that constitute the Rose Parade – it is a New Year's tradition for her to watch the parade in her pj’s while consuming coffee on the couch. Personally, I am more a fan of the football games that come later, but despite my preference for the pigskin, I am always amazed by the detailed craftsmanship that is involved in constructing the fanciful floats.     

Each float is professionally designed and constructed by special float builders at an average cost of $275,000.00. In 10 days leading up to the parade, it's estimated that it takes 60 people working 10 hours a day to decorate one float, and if my math is correct, then that means it takes approximately 6,000 hours to complete the decorating of each float. A float could have as many as 60,000 resplendent roses adorning its surface, with every stem in its own vial full of water to keep each petal looking fresh for the parade. In addition to all those radiant roses, each float is also decorated with gorgeous greenery that comes from a diversity of destinations from around the globe.

Roses are phenomenal flowers. Consider these interesting facts about roses:


Another distinguishing detail of the exquisite elegance of the rose is that it is protected by thorns. Although we may be tempted to consider the thorns of the rose as mere annoyances or sources of pain and suffering, something that detracts from the beauty of the rose and that should be removed or avoided, perhaps we would benefit from considering an alternate perspective. 

Take a moment and imagine a rose bush in full bloom. What do you see? Do you see thorns in a rose bush, or do you see roses in the midst of thorns? Often, we are tempted to grumble and complain that roses have thorns, but perhaps we should celebrate, or at least learn to appreciate, that thorns have roses!

Does every rose have its thorn, or does every thorn have its rose? How we choose to answer that question this year could make all the difference. If we can try to see the potential for beauty through the thorns as well… if we can see God through the thorns and trust that there is a purpose that we can’t fully understand and appreciate until time has passed, then the beauty of the buds will be protected and allowed to grow and bloom and the rose will be revealed according to God’s perfect plan.  

When we think about roses, we think about love, beauty, and grace. When we think about thorns, we are reminded of the “thorn in the flesh” described by Paul and the crown of thorns worn by Jesus, and we think about pain and suffering. The next time we encounter some thorns, however, perhaps there is an opportunity to pause and look for, and wait for, the rose. For if we strive to see God in the thorns, His name shall truly be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 

Happy 2023, everyone!  


PS: My apologies for the abundance of alliteration in this post.

Exciting Opportunity for

Administrators and Parents

Dr. Devorah Heitner


Dr. Devorah Heitner, is the author of "creenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World. Her book on navigating Privacy and Reputation with kids and teens, Growing Up in Public will be out in 2023 with Penguin Random House.


Devorah Heitner, Ph.D., is the authority parents turn to for empowering advice on raising resilient and kind kids in our always-connected world. Her previous book, Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World, was an Amazon bestseller. She is a featured speaker at conferences and independent and public schools in the United States and abroad. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN Opinion, and Fast Company, among others. Dr. Heitner earned a Ph.D. in media/technology and society from Northwestern University and has taught at Depaul University, Lake Forest College, and Northwestern.

Administrators Zoom Call

January 31, 2023

12:00 - 1:00 pm CST

Parent Zoom Call

January 31, 2023

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm CST

Your School Registration Includes:

  • Access to special "Administrators Zoom Call" with Devorah for your entire admin team.
  • Free copy of Devorah's upcoming new book, "Growing Up in Public" (available in summer 2023)
  • Unlimited parental access to the Parent Zoom Call

Administrator Zoom Call - "A Character over Consequences Approach to Navigating Kid's Digital Lives"

January 31, 2023 - 12:00 noon - 1:00 pm CST

Over the past two years, we have all become one with our devices – we are online for school, work, exercise, catching up with friends and the list goes on. How can we help our kids and ourselves re-learn to socialize in person and re-engage with the world while still building on the skills and opportunities that our digital connections have made possible? How can we support kids who may have been on-boarded at younger than-planned ages to cloud-based gaming, texting, or social media?

Parent Zoom Call - "Hitting The Reset Button: Re-balancing With Tech in the "New Normal"   

January 31, 2023 - 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Whether we like it or not, kids today grow up exposed to more scrutiny than past generations. They have a digital reputation, also referred to as a digital footprint. We don’t want there to be a huge fear factor attached to this idea-we simply need to encourage kids who participate in social spaces to produce positive content, always. It’s not that they can’t be critical or disagree with something, but their tone should be constructive and sensitive to the feelings of others. How can we help kids learn to be who they are -- when everyone is watching. How can we help kids, teens, and tweens develop healthy boundaries with regard to privacy and public-facing identity in an increasingly screen-centered world?


Upon receipt of your registration, you will receive the following:

  • A link to share with your administrators to register for the administrator's zoom call.
  • A link to share with for your parents to register for the parent's zoom call.
  • An invoice for your school's registration.

Please note: Administrators and parents MUST register for their respective zoom call. They will each receive their own unique access link to their zoom call immediately upon registration.

Upcoming Webinars

Head Support and Evaluation

January 10, 2023

2:00 pm CST


Free Per Member School

$125.00 Per Non-Member School


As the sole employee of the board, the Head of School carries a huge amount of responsibility. One of the most important roles of the Board of Trustees is to support and evaluate the Head of School. This webinar offers board members tangible advice for how they make the support and evaluation process effective for everyone involved!


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Best Practices of Being a Board Member AND Parent

January 12, 2023

10:00 am CST


Free Per Member School

$125.00 Per Non-Member School


Independent school boards are filled with board members that are also parents in the school. This can create a unique tension that is felt by everyone involved. Join Rob Devlin and Mary Katherine Duffy as they welcome Michele Agostini, a board member and former parent from St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Amarillo, TX. Michele will lead us in a conversation on how to be a great board member AND parent.


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The Importance of Feedback for Faculty and Staff

January 25, 2023

4:00 pm CST


Free Per Member School

$125.00 Per Non-Member School


Evaluations are a necessary part of growth, and yet, the idea of feedback can be difficult. This webinar is specifically geared for faculty and staff to learn how feedback can help them be the best educators they can be. Join Rob Devlin and Mary Katherine Duffy as they welcome David Parks, Head of Upper School at Holland Hall. David will be focusing on helping teachers understand the "why" behind Faculty and Staff evaluations.


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Best Legal Practices for Boards

January 26, 2023

3:30 pm - 5:00 pm CST


$195.00 per member school     

$220 per non-member school


Understanding the legal aspects of running an Episcopal school is vital to the overall success of the organization. Kristin Smith of Fisher Phillips will lead this webinar and will discuss the best legal practices that heads and board members should be thinking about as they lead their school.


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7 Day Challenge for Finding the Good Life

For over 80 years, researchers at Harvard have studied what makes for a good life. They found one surefire, scientifically proven predictor of happiness:  developing warmer relationships…”  and a team of reporters from the NY Times developed a seven-day challenge to help you do just that.

Efficiency is The Enemy of Humanity

“The more I rush, the more I need to rush. Few things intoxicate me with self-importance

better than rushing from one meeting to the next. After all, unimportant people don’t need to

rush. But we have things upside-backwards. Truly important people don’t rush.”

Neuroscience Says This Is the Best Way to Make Better Decisions, Almost Instantly 

Making smart intuitive decisions may sound like a trait, but it's actually a skill anyone can develop.

“Teacher Evaluation for Growth and Accountability: Under What Conditions Does It Improve Student Outcomes?” by David Liebowitz in Harvard Educational Review, Winter 2022

Becoming Vs. Doing

“I think about the new year with a sense of urgency, even though its arrival is no surprise. Disappointments and successes come to mind. Then I ask myself, “What do I want to do next year?” I can’t get away from that question because everyone asks me. But it’s a dangerous question.”


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