{Hugo with his Dad, via Yahoo}

After taking Ryder to see HUGO in 3D last night, I cried all the way home. I had never read the book and knew very little about the film going into it. I had no inkling it would move me the way it did, connect me to my dad, and deliver the sweetest gift a mama could ask for.


Lately, I’ve been immersed in the magic of exploring purpose. My e-course students are digging deep to find theirs in relation to their blogs. I spent a couple of hours this weekend writing and doodling about my own as I follow along with the Hello Soul Hello Business ecourse. I’ve been researching it for exciting projects in the works. I’ve reflected deeply about the ways my dad inspired millions of parents and educators to help kids embrace their own innate sparks.


So, I spent most of the movie with my jaw in my lap and my heart jumping out of my chest, watching this little boy – Hugo – defeat the odds by letting love, passion and purpose guide him through the darkness of his life. He and his loving dad shared a deep fascination with clocks and machinery. After his dad dies in a fire and Hugo’s life spins out of control, his saving grace is his passion for rebuilding a magical machine that he suspects will deliver messages to him from his beloved dad. At one point during the movie, he shows his friend Isabelle the view of Paris at night from the top of a clock tower, telling her he sees the whole world as one big machine in which every single part has a purpose. He says it’s the only way he can explain his reason for being – that he was meant to be here and that we’re all here for a reason.


As Ryder and I walked out of the movie, both with wet eyes, my almost-nine-year-old turned to me and asked, “Mom, what’s my purpose??” It was like a lightning bolt to the heart, to have my own child wonder what he’s here in the world to be and do. As we walked to the car, I told him finding his purpose will be the greatest adventure of his life. It’s why we encourage him to try lots of different things – from choir to baseball to art – so he can begin to realize what lights him up inside. Once he finds that passion, I told him, he gets to use it not only to bring himself joy…but to help others, too.


(Ryder with his Papa last summer}

As we drove home, I told him – through tears – that it’s what Papa {my dad} called sparks:an individual’s deepest passions and interests that give them meaning, focus, joy and energy.” He shared that message around the world, I told Ryder, and is surely so excited that now his own grandson, whom he so adored, is eager to find his. I felt my dad with me, sitting shotgun, beaming as he listened in. Ryder hung on my every word {which is a rarity nowadays} as I told him I wasn’t crying just because I missed Papa, but because I was so happy for the chance to talk about sparks with my boy. “Yeah, I know,” he said. “I get it.” By God, I think he really does.