Literacy & homelessness

Last weekend I took my family down to a baseball game at Wrigley Field thanks to the generosity of a kind soul who gifted the tickets to us. We were forced to drive two cars because there were 6 of us, my 5 family members and a family friend. My almost 8-year-old son, Ziggy, drove with me. It was some good “bro time.”

As we approached the north side, we exited the highway to the right and took an immediate left off the offramp, taking us back under the highway we had just gotten off. Under the highway sat a row of tents. There was a decent amount of traffic at the time which caused us to be stopped under the overpass for a few minutes. After sitting there a bit, I heard a voice from behind, it was Ziggy’s.

“Hey Dad… why are those people camping here?”

To which I responded, “Unfortunately Ziggy, those people aren’t camping there, that is where they live, they are homeless.”

Sigh… silence.

“Hey Dad… why don’t they just live with a family member?”

To which I responded, “Unfortunately Ziggy, many of these folks don’t have family with which they can live.”

Though no more words were spoken, the sound of silence in Ziggy’s contemplation was deafening.

Though this exchange made me sad, and I knew it had made Ziggy sad too, I was pleased.

Pleased? Yes, it was an opportunity, a gift to a father, a teaching moment.

THIS, is real, real life, and it’s important for me as a father to expose my children to life, not protect them from it. It’s also important for me as a father to connect the dots for my children between the challenges of life & our society, and their related causes, in the hopes they might choose to become problem-solvers throughout their life, think of others first while fighting the status quo.

This was a golden and practical opportunity to explain to Ziggy why I have chosen to make literacy my life’s work, so I took it. See, homelessness is a “symptom” of something else, it’s not a social class.

In fact, I believe many of our societal ill wills are “symptoms.”

After some online research, it seems the consensus among our “experts” is that the leading cause of homelessness is lack of affordable housing. Really? That’s like saying, the reason more people can’t dunk a basketball is because the hoop is too high. Come on, man. They can’t dunk because they lack the ability to jump high enough. Please don’t assume I’m not in favor of affordable housing, I am, but…

Why do we continue to insist on “lowering the hoop” when it comes to homelessness or other social challenges?

Why aren’t we willing to dig deeper to fully understand what is at the root cause of our problems?

Why aren’t we willing to invest in prevention, not just intervention?

Why don’t we have the intestinal fortitude to address how we provide opportunities to help people become better “jumpers,” not just lower the hoop for them? Work to provide equal opportunities to all so that they might pursue their happiness & dreams, not just provide them with a roof over their heads and feel good about it.

See, I’m convinced the root cause of many of our social challenges is lack of equitable opportunities related to education.

And what is the essential building block of equitable education? Indisputably, LITERACY.

And THIS is why Freadom has committed 100% of our profits back to literacy for all in America.

We want EVERYONE to have the same opportunities we have been provided to pursue our own happiness.


Safety network of people

As you may know, I’m engaged to be married on July 9th. Needless to say, I’m ecstatic.

On the date we get married, it will have been about a year and a half since we’ve been “an item.

Hey, when you know, you know and we’re not getting any younger, right NOW means everything.

Consequently, over the last 18 months, Christy and I have spent a lot of time introducing each other to friends and family. Not to be too mushy, but I LOVE introducing her to people.

But here’s what I’ve learned, or maybe just finally realized.

I am so blessed to have had & have so many positive influences in my life.

I’m realizing what an advantage this is as I navigate life’s twists & turns.

Now, trust me (some of you know), I’ve made plenty of wrong turns, experienced pain, failed and failed again, struggled, had times when I’ve had to work multiple jobs, lived paycheck to paycheck, was directionless, lacked motivation and felt lonely. However, having a strong and present “community” of friends, colleagues, family, mentors, spiritual titans, teachers, etc. has almost made me “insulated,” or shall I say, protected. Having so many folks like this in my life has been fertilizer for my life growth. Having so many people in my life, modeling excellence, almost made it impossible not to want to strive for excellence myself.

These people have made me, well, me.

To ALL of you and you know who you are, thank you for loving me, though sometimes I’ve been hard to love.

Takeaway, if you feel the same.

  1. Be intentional about telling these people how much they’ve meant to you, maybe a phone call or handwritten note.

  2. Be that person to as many people as you can, give the “gift” away.


All hail the Queen, why?

Ok, so, yes, maybe I’m just ignorant or simple-minded.

And maybe just a bit of cynic because of what I do, who I “work for and think about on a daily basis.

Even now, I’m willing to keep an open mind and certainly open to talking with anyone who would like to explain it to me. THE ROYAL FAMILY.

This concept has never really sat well with me but my angst towards this institution was once again stirred while watching a golf tournament on tv recently. During the telecast, there was a brief cut away for a news update. I found it offensive when the anchor opened with the solemn news of yet more shootings, only to then quickly pivot joyfully, in an almost overly expressive and fake tone of voice, “Meanwhile, the queen made a surprise appearance today on the final day of jubilee, now back to the golf.”

I have to be honest, I literally said out loud, “Who cares?”

Anybody with me or is it just me?

Really, why do we care? Especially in America.

Dude, 3,000 BC is on the phone, they want their hierarchy back.


Word of the week

Contemplation…I’ll let you take it from here.


Good News, read it, share it

Good news well outweighs the bad news the media loves to feed us.

If you like what you read, share it with friends.

  • Virginia joins 20 other states banning ticket quotas for traffic cops

  • The world now runs on lithium; researchers have developed a clean method to get it from water

  • Despite the pandemic getting worse, it’s reported Americans donated more generously than ever

  • An all-black climbing team recently made history reaching the top of Mt. Everest

  • A 9-year old in Idaho recently collected $1,150 in one weekend selling lemonade, donated it to charity

  • A Frenchman recently won $200 MILLION in the lottery, donated it to preserve rainforest in W. Africa

Don’t just read good news, make it!!


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