Deborah Farmer Kris

Deborah Farmer Kris is Associate Director of the LifeCompass Institute for Character and Leadership.

Recent Posts

Parenting Round-Up: 4 Articles Worth a Look

Posted by Deborah Farmer Kris on Apr 28, 2021 2:34:40 PM

When I was a young teacher –  years before I had children –  a wise head of school pulled the faculty together before parent-teacher conferences and shared this quote from Elizabeth Stone.

“Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ”

"Remember," he said, "when you talk about someone else’s child with them, you are talking about their heart."

Parenting is such sublime, scary, soulful work –  and we can use all the help we can get.  Here are four recent articles that might provide a slice of support:

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"When You Say Nothing At All": Why Body Language Matters

Posted by Deborah Farmer Kris on Mar 24, 2021 9:45:57 AM


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Parenting During the Holidays, 2020-Style

Posted by Deborah Farmer Kris on Nov 30, 2020 11:19:07 AM

For most of us, pandemic parenting has tapped us and sapped us, drawing out our creativity and testing our strength and resilience. As we head into December and the winter ahead, here are a few articles that you might find helpful or, at the very least, hopeful.

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Tell the Story of Hope: My Accidental Parenting Mantra

Posted by Deborah Farmer Kris on Aug 24, 2020 2:43:11 PM

Yesterday, my daughter left her favorite pair of shoes near the shoreline and didn’t realize it until after high tide had carried them away.

To help her work through her sadness, we began to imagine a new life for the shoes: as a shell for a hermit crab, as an unexpected catch for a lobsterman. We imagined one day, years from now, walking along the shore and finding her tie-dyed Crocs and laughing that they had finally come home.

Today, we found the shoes. Washed up, covered in seaweed. Her brother and I cheered. She shrugged. After a few minutes, she whispered.

“I’m kind of sad we found them. I liked the stories more than the shoes.”

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100-Year Ripples: What My Grandmothers Can Teach Me About Pandemic Parenting

Posted by Deborah Farmer Kris on May 13, 2020 12:46:53 PM


On February 1, 1919, my grandmother Eliza Ellen turned four years old. Twenty days later, influenza stole away her mother. 

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Parenting During Covid-19: Three P's to Help Our Teens and Tweens

Posted by Deborah Farmer Kris on Mar 11, 2020 1:55:25 PM


My colleague, Katie Elrod, often reminds me that, “Practical wisdom is knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do.”

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately as a parent. In light of the COVID-19 epidemic, how do we make wise choices? How can we be responsive instead of reactive? What do we do when we don’t know what to do? 

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"There is a Reason You are Here": How Katherine Johnson and Other Exemplary Women Help Teens Aim for Greatness

Posted by Deborah Farmer Kris on Feb 25, 2020 12:19:26 PM


This week, the world lost a mathematical pathbreaker.  Katherine Johnson was one of NASA’s “Hidden Figures” – a brilliant mathematician who calculated the trajectory for the Apollo 11 flight.  It was her precise calculations that got Neil Armstrong to the moon and back. 

Ms. Johnson passed away on February 25 at age 101, and her extraordinary legacy as a female, African-American scientist will long outlive her.

Recently high school junior Neha Sunkara ‘21 spent weeks studying Katherine Johnson for a research paper. Neha is a student in Montrose School in Medfield, MA.

“She transformed the space race for America, but she wasn’t as well known until the movie Hidden Figures came out,” said Neha. “I want to be an astrophysicist, and sometimes I feel alone in my passion. Knowing someone else like Katherine Johnson is in the math world made such a big impact on me.” 

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Parenting Oasis, December 2019: Good Holiday Reads

Posted by Deborah Farmer Kris on Dec 19, 2019 10:33:04 AM

In the bustle of the holiday season, here are a few good reads to help remind us of what matters most in raising kids and teens.

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Giving Gratitude to Those Who "Make Space" for Us

Posted by Deborah Farmer Kris on Nov 12, 2019 9:25:02 AM

Middle school started on a rough note for me. I moved from the comfort of a neighborhood school to the city’s junior high which housed over 1000 students. I felt lost and scared most of the time. 

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Parenting Oasis, October 2019: Practical Articles from Around the Web

Posted by Deborah Farmer Kris on Oct 17, 2019 9:40:07 AM


Parenting can be equal parts amazing, lonely, and overwhelming. Here are three recent articles that offer some helpful nuggets as we try to raise good kids in a complicated world.

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Compass 10.7.16

Practical wisdom for today's parents and educators.

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