But before I begin….
First, thank you for meeting me “on the page”.
My hope for you is to find my blog a quick read – thought provoking, informative, diverse in content, entertaining, contemplative, inspiring and chock-full of information which better equips you to advocate and fight for Literacy for All.
My promise to you is to be direct, authentic and candid.
For me, I view this blog as a tremendous opportunity for personal growth, reflection and look forward to our journey together. But before I begin, it’s important to acknowledge I’m no professional writer, I don’t claim to be a literacy expert and I’ve never been trained in business. Let’s face it, I’m just a recovering golf professional with an entomology degree (no judgement if you need to look that one up). However, with the help of many others and through my personal, real-life experience, I have learned a lot being in the literacy arena over the past 14 years. One thing I’m certain of, I’m more on fire for literacy than I’ve ever been.
Let’s get started.
Literacy is my jam, but why?
My passion for literacy burns pretty hot. Some of this passion I can explain, some I cannot but I am certain two factors have influenced this passion in a big way, no doubt. 1. After leaving the golf business, I thought I wanted to become an elementary school teacher in an under-resourced community. To get my foot in the door, I took a reading paraprofessional job at Shiloh Park Elementary in Zion, IL. Seeing the educational system as an adult provided me with a fresh perspective, it was truly transformative. It opened my eyes to how critical literacy is to all of us in building a foundation for a successful educational journey & life; even MORE critical in under-resourced communities 2. My father, Bernie, Sr., like many others, grew up the son of two immigrants. His father, with no more than a 6th grade education, worked in a coal mine for 51 years. My father didn’t have running water until he went to college. Like many of us, it was a strong reading foundation and love for reading which laid the groundwork for a successful educational journey which in turn provided my father & our family choices. No matter where we start, we ALL literally read our way to a better life. Want to help make lives better, pull on the Literacy Lever, it’s preventative by nature and the tide which truly lifts all boats.
What do you stand for, what is your jam?
Seriously, have you thought about this recently? Maybe you’ve never taken the time to consider it. That’s ok but now is a perfect time. What’s your purpose, what do you stand for, who do you stand for? What gets you fired up? Given today’s environment, it’s clear we’ve all become very proficient at developing our own personal mantras on what we are AGAINST. And, with the “help” of social media, very good at communicating these “against” stances. I have been blessed to find my purpose, LITERACY. I can tell you unequivocally, finding my purpose has changed my life, for the better, it drives me every day. What’s yours? Not sure? I encourage you to begin seeking.
Let me answer a typical question?
Because of my involvement in literacy, I’m often asked, “What’s your favorite book”? I used to wish I had a nice, meaty, heady classic with which to answer the question, you know like, “East of Eden”, “Catcher in the Rye”, “Ulysses”, “War & Peace”, you get the idea. But no, I have proudly accepted the fact that my favorite book is a children’s book, go figure, “The Tenth Good Thing About Barney”, by Judith Viorst. It is the first time I can remember, where the written word changed me, changed my perspective, made me think and look at things differently. I was 5 years old, and our family cat Whicker had just died. I’m not a big cat guy but we LOVED Whicker. We sat down on the couch as a family and my father read this book to all of us aloud. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a great book to introduce the concept of death to children, yes. But most importantly, I learned something good can come from something we perceive as bad; an important lesson to learn early given what life presents us. Since then, I have gifted this book many times to adults dealing with loss. In fact, I’ve had the honor of reading this book aloud while giving eulogies I’ve been asked to deliver. Look harder, each loss is an opportunity, each challenge a gift.
Wishes DON’T come true. Period.
The start of every new year typically begins with a good ole’ New Years’ Resolution. 80% of New Years’ Resolutions fail by February. Why? It seems to me most resolutions are “wishes”, not WANTS and there are simple but meaningful differences between the two. When you really want something, you tell everyone. Why? The more people you tell, the more likely people will 1. want to help you and 2. hold you accountable.
Takeaway: No one accomplishes anything without the help of others. Stop wishing, start WANTING..
Right Now Means Everything
Throughout the course of history, it would be interesting to know how much time humans have spent dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. What about “RIGHT NOW”? The past is gone and the future is a promise to no one. Not to mention, if there’s one thing we should know by now as earthlings, we have no idea what the future holds, even when we do whatever we can to control it. On July 30th, 2020, my brother, Bernie, Jr., passed away after a courageous 7 year battle with ALS. You can imagine how this experience changed his perspective completely. In fact, along the way, he adopted the mantra, “Right Now Means Everything”. We don’t have to wait for something tragic or earth shattering to happen for our perspective to change. Right NOW is the time to start believing that “Right Now Means Everything”. Be present where your feet are planted.
Well Said, no comment needed
“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice” – Bob Nesta Marley
The human circulatory system is more than 60,000 miles long. We take a lot for granted.
“What do you stand for, what is your jam?” Thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts Brian. You challenged my thinking on how I approach the world. It can be positive or negative but I make that choice.
Keep sharing your fire for literacy! 📚🌎
Thanks for sharing Brian. Great thoughts.
Thanks for such a thoughtful blog post. You certainly gave me a lot to think about. My passion is also spreading a love of literacy. As a former 5th grade teacher and current K-5 school librarian, I get to pursue this goal every day.
I also have a special place in my heart for golf professionals; my son works as one in NC (graduated from Penn State PGM).
Best to you in the New Year.
Thank you for sharing.
This is the day the Lord hath made and I am going to rejoice and be glad. It is the first day of the rest of my life.