Literacy, an issue to take SERIOUSLY.
“Elimination of illiteracy is as serious an issue to our history as the abolition of slavery” – Maya Angelou
This is a strong statement, but true, even if it makes us uncomfortable. At Freadom, we believe reading is the foundation for true freedom. Being able to read is something I think we – who can read – take for granted. We do it all day, every day. You are reading right now, imagine if you couldn’t? As I write this, I’m quickly concluding that Ms. Angelou’s statement deserves MORE of our contemplation and less of my comment. I’ll stop here.
The power of dreaming.
Just this past Monday, we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. When I think about the power of a dream, the first person that comes to mind, without a close second, is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And has there been a more noble and important dream? A dream he never should have had to have. But thank goodness he did and had the courage to share it with us on the grandest of stages. It seems to me the most powerful of dreams are those dreamt which many doubt or even are working against you, this, was his kind of dream. And a dream he ultimately gave his life for. It was a dream which challenged the reality of a promise made many years prior, “this note (promissory note) was a promise that all men – yes, black men as well as white men (and women) – would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The power and importance of a dream is that it has the ability to help others “see” things which may be too hard to visualize themselves at the time but one which stimulates the imagination just enough for hope to translate into action.
“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”
“And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, Black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.”
We all need to continue to believe in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s dream and work harder to make this dream a reality. After all, dreams are dreamt to become reality. Been a while since you’ve heard “I Have a Dream” or read a transcript of it? Click here.
Do YOU believe in the power of dreaming?
Do you make time for yourself to sit in silence, being still and dream?
Best 10 two letter word sentence EVER.
I was introduced to this sentence a few years back by someone very wise. I instantly fell in love with this sentence. And it immediately made me think of my parents. I was blessed with incredible parents; they were tough but fair. I give them credit for anything good I’ve accomplished in my life. Their solid foundation prepared me for all life has to offer; triumphs, tribulations, successes, failures, challenges, the unexpected, loss and heartache. Many lessons were taught, many were learned. And it wasn’t until I became a parent when I truly understood just how blessed I am. Probably the most important message I received from my parents revolved around taking personal responsibility. Blaming someone or something else is easy and usually ineffective. We don’t blame teachers, coaches, spouses, partners, colleagues, parents, circumstances, government, luck or “the gods” when something doesn’t go our way. Yes, I can’t argue, it does make us feel better for a short time. However, the best place to start if you want something to truly change, THE MIRROR.
Thank you, Mom & Dad, never thanked enough, never taken for granted.
Never eat lunch alone.
I’ve spent a lot of life in a funeral home, ironically. My grandfather and his father, two uncles and two cousins were all funeral directors. Seem “weird”? Maybe to some but funeral directors are some of the kindest, most patient and funniest people I know. It has been said that relationships make the world go round. Well, not literally of course but they are the driving force behind progress, understanding, joy and business, especially the funeral business. Who you going to trust during your most trying, emotional and vulnerable times? Someone you know well. I think I was around 7 years old when my grandfather, Pop-pop said to me, “Brian, never eat lunch alone”. It seemed everywhere we went, everyone knew and loved my Pop-pop, but how? Well, he never ate lunch alone. He figured, you have to eat, right? You might as well eat with someone, it’s a great opportunity to get to know them and for them to know you. It’s a great opportunity to feed your belly, and your curiosity.
So, if you ever see me eating lunch alone, stay away, I’m probably not feeling well.
DON’T read this!
You’re reading this aren’t you?
You see, our minds don’t understand “don’t”. I learned this from my mentor during my times teaching with the Golf Digest Schools. In theory, I believe I already knew the concept, but more like, “think positively”. But my mentor framed it differently and I believe more practically. He unpacked it by saying think about it, if you are about to hit a shot and you think, “don’t hit it in the water”, where does it inevitably go, the water! He was so right. What’s the last word our mind “heard”, WATER? If you have children or maybe nieces or nephews and you say, “don’t do that”. What do they do? Yep, you got it, exactly what you told them NOT to do. If we focus on what we don’t want to do, we lose focus on what we DO want to do. Do you live life in the don’t? Every don’t statement can be reframed into a DO statement. Ok, back to my golf shot. The hole is on the right side of the green, the wind is blowing a little left to right, we’ve got 167 yards to the hole. Give me my 8 iron, see that little light area 13 ½ feet to the left of the hole, I’m going to hit it right there; I “see” and visualize only this. Now let’s go make birdie!
We’re all Losers.
Life is full of losing. Even the biggest “winners”, lose, but what I’m referring to specifically is the loss of someone we love; a father, a friend, a sibling, a colleague. What do they say, the only guarantees in life are death and taxes? Well, that sounds like another blog entry all together, but the question is, what will we choose to do when we experience this loss? It’s painful, confusing, heartbreaking and sometimes paralyzing and the loss is permanent, irreversible. When I lost my father Bernie unexpectedly, it hurt, it literally hurt in my heart, I could feel it. The fact of the matter was, there was a “hole” left in my heart, it wasn’t going away, no matter what I did. What would I do with it, what do we do with these holes in our hearts when we lose someone we love? Well, I could have ignored it. That would not have been healthy and frankly, a wasted opportunity. I could have filled it with a bunch of “junk”, thinking it would ease the pain and make the hollow feeling go away. That would have been even more unhealthy and in fact, made matters worse. OR, I could choose to plant a seed in that hole, nurture it, feed it, water it and watch it grow for good. And that’s exactly what Bernie’s Book Bank is, the product of loss. Out of something bad, something very good is always possible. It all depends on what you choose.
We chase happiness but do not get it too often. Will we get it; if we stop chasing it?
Is it right to do nothing at times and just feel happy about it?
The irony of life is, just as we celebrate our birthdays every year; we also pass our death date every year; it’s just we are not aware of it.