Elevate instead of excoriate

Every year in September, Freadom launches our Elevate an Educator Campaign, providing a platform to the general public to write words of praise about an educator from their past or present. At the very least, to say thank you for their hard work and service.


Because being a teacher is an extremely hard profession, and absolutely essential.

Ever tried teaching one person something? Try 25-30 all at the same time… 6-year-olds.

Most of the time, all they receive is criticism.

We want to make sure they know they are loved, appreciated and supported.

Did you know, in the United States…

  • 14% of new teachers resign by the end of their first year

  • 33% leave within their first 3 years

  • 50% leave by their 5th year

Have an educator or educators you would like to recognize? Want to see how far a little meaningful appreciation goes? Check out this video from Kelly Shaw, Freadom’s Most Valuable Educator from last year’s Elevate an Educator Campaign.

Stay tuned as our 2022 campaign kicks off in early September.


Profiles of influence | Coach Keller

We all have people from our past who have loved and influenced us into our present.

This week, I lost one of those people, Coach George Keller, my high school golf coach.

He was a legend in so many ways, one of the winningest high school coaches in America.

He was a master at building culture and confidence.

After he spoke, you felt like you could do anything.

He was kind and funny, but maintained high expectations for excellence, always.

He was also a high school history teacher and though he wasn’t easy, to a student, everyone loved him.

Unfortunately, they just don’t make them like Coach Keller anymore.

Rest easy my coach, my friend.

Is there an “influencer” or mentor from your past which you haven’t properly or intentionally thanked?

They’d love to hear where and what you are doing today and I promise you, if you call or write to them to express your gratitude, they’ll be so glad you did. Don’t wait.



By now, you’re probably pretty familiar with my 8-year-old son, Ziggy.

Honestly, I try to hold back writing about him all the time, but the kid truly is one of kind, a content machine, content too good to not share.

I know, I know, he’s my son, of course I think he’s special but…

Recently, another piece of his personality has burst onto the scene.

This boy is a natural born seller, he loves to sell.

During our trip to Chautauqua for our wedding, he and his cousin Grant teamed up to produce a play for anyone who would attend. They practiced, schemed, posted flyers about the upcoming play all around the grounds. You would have almost thought THAT was the reason we traveled to Chautauqua.

In any event, the day came for the big “performance.”

As you would expect, the audience was all family members, except for two ladies who sat off to the side.

They were leaning in, completely engaged throughout the whole performance, truly excited to be there.

No one knew who they were so after the big show concluded, I walked over to them to inquire why and how they were there. By the way, they came with money in hand.

So I introduced myself and asked how they ended up being there.

One of the kind ladies pointed to Ziggy.

“See that one there?” she asked.

“Yes, that’s my son Ziggy,” I responded, cringing a bit inside afraid of what she might say next.

“Well, on Wednesday (keep in mind the show was Friday afternoon), Ziggy approached us and asked what we were doing Friday afternoon at 5pm because they were putting on a show.”

And they came, WITH MONEY IN HAND!

Now, frankly it’s still up in the air what kind of student Ziggy will become but I’m not quite sure it matters if he comes by that naturally.

Yesterday, unencouraged by anyone else, he opened up a candy store. He lives right behind the high school and he bought candy bars at Costco (with his own money, mom helped with this part) and began selling them to high schoolers as they got out of school – for double what he had paid.

First days revenue? $14.

Not bad for 8.

ABC Ziggy, ABC… Always Be Closing.

P.S. Rest assured, we’ll make sure he leverages his selling capabilities for the good of others.


Word of the week

Has fear ever gotten more “airtime” in history?

Maybe so, but it feels like our present times are overwhelmed by the feeling and the word.

But what does fear, fear?

More than you think.

I’m adding to a list of what fear fears I recently came across…

  • alarm clocks

  • the dark

  • community

  • action

  • rainbows

  • truth

  • sunrises

  • empathy

  • hugs

  • listeners

  • truth

  • heights

  • grace

  • prayer

  • love

  • YOU

Fight fear back!


The 1980’s called…

I try not to think about the past to much but lately I’ve found myself reliving some memories, good ones.

In doing so, it made me think of things from the past which are now obsolete and honestly, I’d love to have them back.

  • MIX TAPES… straight up art form

  • METAL SPIKED GOLF SHOES… the sound they made on the asphalt as I anticipated getting to play

  • STICK SHIFTS… haven’t seen one in years, nothing better than a perfectly executed shift

  • ATLASES… nothing beats a good, ink-on-paper atlas

  • PHOTOGRAPHS… the anticipation of picking them up from being developed made viewing them special


  • IN FLIGHT MEALS… never tasted good, but made me feel special

  • GARAGE SALES… thank you very little Facebook marketplace


  • 50¢ GALLONS OF GAS… duh

  • PAY PHONES… no idea why, I just miss them

What do you miss from the 80’s? Comment below.

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1 comment
  • I miss kids roaming around in the summer; town rec department events, going to the pool, exploring the woods and neighborhood. Today they are so programmed.

    Loreli on

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