Sparkle Schoolhouse
Sparkle Schoolhouse: Dry Gables Series, Introduction - Part 4

Sparkle Schoolhouse: Dry Gables Series, Introduction - Part 4

This is the fourth tutorial in our new Sparkle Schoolhouse Series!

This tutorial accompanies the “Dry Gables” Audio Book, specifically the fourth story in the Audio Book, “Big Hearts from Yankton.”

Every tutorial in this Series uses the characters in the stories as tools to help you better understand your children, and trust your instincts as a parent.

First there’s a video — introducing Meredith, the Sparkle Schoolhouse Educator, along with the Schoolhouse Series. She’ll be unpacking the fourth story in the Audio Book.

And below the video there is a blog post with a concise review of the video material, plus things you can do to put these ideas to work in your own home!


Hello again, Sparklers! That’s right. Today, we visit with our friends, the Denkens.

By now, you have figured out that members of each family have their own particular way of relating to the world; each either strongly expresses or even quiets a certain driving emotion. Depending on which family your child is visiting, he or she is asking for something in particular. What is that for the Denkens?

Denkens are asking:

“What can I trust, so that I feel safe and secure?”

And they do this by planning! Each of our Denkens loves to plan, but each for their own reasons.

Franz and Lena (our Dry Goods Merchants) wanted to have everything in it’s proper place. They wanted to security of knowing that they were taken care of, and also that they were taking care of those to whom they were loyal.

Max (their son) makes plans that are filled with important questions. He wants to know about and order his understanding of the world.

Jane (EB’s mother and our Pony Express Rider) does not plan in order to bring order, but boy, oh, boys does she ever make plans! Big plans. She wants to experience the world!

But what do all of these planners have in common? They are fearful, and the emotion that drives many of their decisions is Fear. Franz and Lena are fearful that they are not safe. Max is fearful that he won’t understand. And Jane is fearful that she is going to miss out on something. And they each ask: “How do you know who to trust?” as they make their plans and think them through.

A Denken seeks guidance and security.

The primary expression that we might find in their words, actions, emotions and behaviors is, “What can I trust, so I feel secure?”

The emotion that often underlies their motivations or that they are avoiding feeling is Fear.

I find that if a child is showing me that they are insecure, not so much because they don’t feel valued, but rather because they don’t trust themselves or their circumstances, I will try to give them reassurances about the things that they can depend on. There is so much that we can’t know about the future, certainly, but it can help to chart the course ahead when we are traversing unknown territory. This might help to ease some of the anxiety that your Denkens child feels and expresses.

Welcome to Dry Gables!

Now you have met nine of our brave, wise, adventurous, humorous and deeply loving people who founded our town, Dry Gables.

“Bauer” is German for “Builder”

Our blacksmith, builder, and baker all come to Dry Gables looking for freedom, and they find it by taking action.

“Herz” is German for “Heart”

Our nurse, school teacher, and future proprietor come to Dry Gables to be recognized for the difference they can make in the world. And each of them relate to the world through their feelings, or their Heart.

“Denken” is German for “To Think”

Our dry goods merchants, young scholar and a pony express rider all want to take care of themselves and the community. They do this by planning and thinking.

And together, they all represent the whole person,

the whole child…

Your Child!

Here’s what you can do:

As you observe your child’s actions, emotions and words, be thinking if what he/she is really asking for is safety and security. If so, perhaps you can try giving your child reassurances where you can about what they can expect. They are looking for your guidance.

Pay attention to and make room for their fear and anxiety.

Remember, children will show several characters through the course of the day. They will sometimes show up like a Bauer, sometimes like a Herz and sometimes like a Denken – and part of the fun is to try responding to your children artistically. Ask yourself, “Hmm, am I dealing with the blacksmith here? Or is my child being a nurse right now?” And then trust yourself, trust yourself, trust yourself, and have some fun, as you figure out what they might need!

In the next nine stories, you will get to know each character even better, and over time you will meet the others who come to Dry Gables. More stories, more videos, all with the express hope to help you to know and appreciate yourself and your child even better.

We’re so glad you’ve found us here in Dry Gables!

About the Author

Meredith Markow

Sparkle Schoolhouse Head of School

Meredith has been working with adults and children of all ages for the past 25 years as a Waldorf Teacher and Educational Consultant. She received a B.A. with a focus on child development and child psychology from the University of Michigan, in 1984, an M.A. Ed from Washington University in 1987, and her Waldorf Teaching Certificate from the Lehrerausbildung (Teacher Training) in Nurnberg, Germany in 1989. She was certified as a Living Inquiries Facilitator in 2014, and she completed her formal teaching certification with The Enneagram Institute in 2014. Her work in the classroom and with individuals and groups is designed to help people of all ages to drop self-limiting beliefs to live a more joyful and compassionate life.

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