Literacy, why should we REALLY care?

If literacy skills increased by just 1%, we’d potentially see a $240 BILLION boost to our economy.

Literacy for All is not just an emotional, feel-good quest in which all children have the ability to read their way to a better life. YES, in the “land of opportunity”, the ability to read is a prerequisite to pursuing happiness, no doubt. Oh, but it’s that, and so much more. Literacy for All or the lack thereof impacts all of us; me, you, our children, our children’s children and beyond. Let’s choose Literacy for All, 1% by 1%.


Ted Lasso, more than a big-hearted culture coach, he’s a life coach!

I’ve often thought watching ANY kind of TV (well maybe except sports) was a colossal waste of time but like many things, I was wrong. Recently, I was strongly encouraged to watch Ted Lasso, and eventually, I relented. Over the first 7 episodes, I began to realize this show was a bit different. And then, I got to Episode 8 where Ted quotes Walt Whitman, “be curious, not judgmental”. It stopped me in my “tracks”, brilliant scene and statement. It forced me to look in the mirror and ask myself, “am I more curious or judgmental”? If I am being honest, I’m definitely not curious enough and frankly have no right to judge anyone. Questions are the answers. Questions keep us learning. Questions fuel our ability to understand. Questions prevent judgement. In today’s environment, I’d encourage us all, including myself, to ask more questions and when we’re done doing that, ask another one.

Are you more curious, or judgmental?


Consumerism IS activism.

Accenture recently published a report which concludes 62% of purchases made today are made with purpose and ethics in mind; where was it made, who made it, who does it benefit, what does the company stand for? The report also concludes US consumers are no longer making purchasing decisions on product selection and price alone. One of the significant trailblazers relevant to conscious consumerism is Newman’s Own. Newman’s launched in 1982 dedicating 100% of their net profits back to charity. Since then, and with most of this time without the benefit of the internet, Newman’s Own has invested more than $550 MILLION to thousands of charities. Since then, though “100-percenters” remain rare, thousands of companies have elevated their “purpose game”. With the millennials, Gen X’ers, Gen Z’ers and those generations following them, it’s believed this trend of purchase-driven purchasing is only going to increase. As a result, consumerism is quickly becoming activism. At Freadom, we believe if you’re going to wear something or utilize something, it should also stand for something.


Where would you be?

“I touch the future. I teach.” – Christa McCauliffe
“Teaching is the only profession that creates all other professions.” – Unknown
“Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.” – Josef Albers
“Effective teaching may be the hardest job there is.” – William Glasser
“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.” – C.S. Lewis


Educators and the education system in general seem to be perfect topics to practice being curious, not judgmental. Over the 14 years of working in literacy and education, it seems everyone has an opinion or judgment about educators and/or education in general. What has been discouraging and disappointing to learn is most of the folks with the strongest negative and cynical opinions and/or viewpoints are the same people who have never spent significant time in a classroom or school, outside of when they were attending themselves. The fact of the matter is, teaching is REALLY HARD (why? topic for another blog), and it’s gotten even harder since COVID-19 struck. Educators deserve our support. Educators deserve our encouragement. Educators deserve our grace. Stay curious.

Know a hard-working educator who could use acknowledgement and uplifting?

Nominate them here as part of Freadom’s Elevate an Educator Campaign. Every nominated educator gets a free $10 Freadom gift card as a way of saying thanks for all they do.


“Oh, so that’s how you start a motorcycle.”

A few weeks ago, I was watching a movie with my family. In one scene, the actor gets on a motorcycle and rides away. Seconds later, I hear my 7-year-old son Ziggy exclaim, “oh, so that’s how you start a motorcycle”? You can imagine the comedy that provided us all, AND… suddenly, the sheer terror which came over me in thinking about Ziggy, at 7, starting up a motorcycle (trust me, he would). It was a strong reminder, our kids, whether they belong to us or not, are paying attention way more than we might think as adults. They are watching how we treat our servers in a restaurant, watching how we spend our time, watching how we overcome adversity, watching what we say, watching how we hate, watching how we persevere, watching how we work, watching how we forgive, watching how we live, watching everything – even how to start a motorcycle. Just something to contemplate.


Founders are overrated.

Yes, I said it, and I mean it. And yes, everything must start somewhere, by someone. But, as it’s been said, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish and finishing anything, accomplishing any mission, takes a team, “takes a village”, takes followers, takes folks of all different personalities and skill sets, united by one dream, one goal, one mission. If everyone was a founder, nothing would get accomplished. A movement is not about the founder, it’s about ALL those who join in, believe and work hard, together. Want an effective, fun and short (3 min.) illustration, watch this!


Without comment.

There is a way through it all

There is a way just stand as tall

As you can, doesn’t matter your height

There is a way in spite

Of all the bad, sad, and pain,

A rainbow requires sun and rain.


Nobody said it would be easy or fair,

People step up and show how much they care.

The questions are many, the answers are few,

There is a way, just see it in a different hue.

Time cannot be stopped and it marches on,

Into the future with new beginnings each dawn.


There is a way,

Just don’t stop – keep going is a must,

Take a look, take a peek

You still have strength when you feel all weak.

No path forward that you can see?

It is there, SMILE – believe it to be!


– Bernie Floriani, Jr. (1968-2020)

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