IN 1984, 70% OF 13-YEAR-OLDS READ WEEKLY, COMPARED WITH 53% NOW. 48% OF 17-YEAR-OLDS SAY THEY HAVE READ FOR PLEASURE ONLY ONCE OR TWICE IN THE LAST YEAR. Source: Scholastic Education, The Joy & Power of Reading, A Summary of Research and Expert Opinion © 2018

Hmmmm, not good, wonder why this % has dropped so much? Here’s some ideas on why 13-year-olds are reading significantly less just 4 decades later...

  • too much wiffle ball before the streetlights come on?
  • too much Rubik’s cube?
  • too much time at the roller rink?
  • too much time hanging at the mall?
  • too much MTV?
  • too much time making mix tapes for their main squeezes?

I don’t think so. And, though it was nice to stroll down memory lane, I’m pretty confident none of these are the reasons. Is the answer as obvious to you as it is to me?


The "voices" of Black History

“Have a vision. Be demanding.” – Colin Powell

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.” – Langston Hughes

“Truth is powerful, and it prevails.” – Sojourner Truth

“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.” – Wilma Rudolph

“You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.”Shirley Chisholm


Word of the week

Who decides when a word is really a word or officially becomes a word? Based on my experience playing scrabble with my mother, she must be the authority, but no, really, who is? Well, I turned to Ms. Google and here’s what she said:

“To decide which words to include in the dictionary and to determine what they mean, Merriam-Webster editors study the language as it's used. They carefully monitor which words people use most often and how they use them.”

Irregardless, it’s not you or me who gets to decide. Wait, is irregardless a word?

This word was a recent family debate topic, I said it was a word, just saying, for the record.

And, drum roll please, according to Merriam-Webster, irregardless IS a word and here’s what they say:

“Yes. We define irregardless as "regardless." Many people find irregardless to be a nonsensical word, as the ir- prefix usually functions to indicate negation; however, in this case it appears to function as an intensifier.”

So, irregardless of what you might think, irregardless is the word of the week!

I’m rarely right so it was nice to “be right” for once. That being said, I’m sticking with just using the word, REGARDLESS.

Begs to question, this means we decide a word is a word when enough people use it incorrectly or when we decide a long-standing prefix like “ir” also now has a different meaning? “intensifier” …really?

I’ve often been called irresponsible. I guess I’ll take that as a compliment.

Things that make you go “hmmmmm”.


What gives in the world of giving?

In a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy article, it was reported that Blackbaud Institute, a research division of the fundraising technology firm Blackbaud, mined data from 8,635 nonprofits and found the biggest year-over-year increase in giving since 2012. Nonprofits of all budget sizes enjoyed roughly 9 percent increases in fundraising revenue last year.

This is all great news but must be kept in perspective as many recent reports indicate the future of philanthropic giving has never been more uncertain; philanthropic giving has been at 2% of the GDP forever without any signs of this increasing, the concentration of wealth amongst fewer and fewer people in America has never been higher, less people are giving and many signs indicate millennials, gen Xers, gen Zers will not approach giving similarly to prior generations, only adding to the uncertainty.

All the more reason alternative sources of charitable giving need to continue to be explored in the philanthropic sector. Freadom is a direct response to this ever-changing and uncertain philanthropic future.


Super Bowl #’s, sans comment

  • The average cost of a Super Bowl LVI ticket is more than $9,000
  • Average cost of 30-second advertising spot in 2022, $6.5 million
  • Cost of 2022 Super Bowl half-time show, $10 million
  • Nearly $30,000 was the highest price ever paid for a Super Bowl ticket
  • Economic benefit to LA County for hosting, $478 million
  • 1.42 billion chicken wings were eaten
  • 11.2 million pounds of potato chips were expected to be eaten
  • 17 million people were expected to miss work the day after Super Bowl


“The moment”

On Saturday, I was lucky enough to see professional golfer Sam Ryder make a hole-in-one (his first on tour) on the now legendary 16th hole at the Waste Management Open in front of more than 17,000 golf-crazed fans. This hole has been nicknamed the “Coliseum” because of its one of a kind, 360 degree viewing stadium constructed around the hole. 2,000 plus shots had been hit on this hole since the last hole in one in tournament play. As you can imagine, the fans and the golfing world went bananas when Sam’s tee shot disappeared. With beer cans and water bottles being launched on to the playing surface, it looked more like a cross between a European soccer match & Mardi Gras as fans temporarily lost their minds. The rush Sam Ryder must have felt must have been both intoxicating and overwhelming. When interviewed about the experience, Sam mentioned several times he was just trying to “be in the moment” and enjoy it.

The next day, the LA Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI. It was an enjoyable and hard-fought game, truly a bummer someone had to lose. But in the end, it was the Rams who triumphed, and the gold and royal blue confetti flew. As the confetti was flying, a reporter caught up with LA Ram Aaron Donald. Aaron Donald is a 6’1” defensive tackle and 284 lbs. of pure muscle, a modern-day gladiator. He has eight Pro Bowls, seven All-Pro nods and four Defensive Player of the Year awards in his 8-year career and considered one of the most dominate players in the NFL, ever. The reporter asked Aaron what he was feeling. As he stumbled emotionally to find the right words, he wept. It was clear a life-long dream had been realized. The questions and emotions continued and then he was asked about his future, his response, “I just want to live in the moment”.

I love watching moments when life-long dreams come true.

Throughout life, we all have these types of moments, some big, some small.

When we get there, we need to remember to BE IN THE MOMENT. Don’t know about you but I need to get better at this.

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1 comment
  • This message is exactly what this educator needed to hear today. We MUST celebrate those small moments + wins. Staying PRESENT in the MOMENT is LIFE-GIVING. Keep up the good fight for Literacy. We ALL need this charge to stay on track + not lose hope. BE the JOY.

    Jillian DuBois on

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