Literacy, where’s it begin?

Where does a burning passion for something begin?

For me & literacy, it comes from personal experience & being proximate to the literacy crisis.

Bryan Stevenson, founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, says “We must get proximate to suffering and understand the nuanced experiences of those who suffer from and experience inequality…if you are willing to get closer to people who are suffering, you will find the power to change the world.”

He’s so right.

It was my experience as a reading paraprofessional in an under-resourced community nearly 15 years ago which dramatically changed my life, and, made me want – and think – I could change the world. The majority of the children (6-8 year olds) I was working with weren’t reading ready and/or school ready when they entered kindergarten and the few that were, weren’t that much farther ahead. The unforgettable memory and feeling burned into my mind and heart was looking down at these beautiful children with all the hope in their eyes and knowing it was almost “over” before it started for them. Aside from a few outliers, most of these children would struggle for most of their life at no fault of their own. Pursuit of happiness? Yeah, right. It was painful, undeniable. So much so I didn’t have the capacity to ignore it. It grabbed me and shook me to my core. The literacy crisis was now my crisis, my passion.

This article from Forbes, “Poverty Impedes Children’s Education Long Before They Enter The Classroom” was just recently published, I encourage you to read it but here’s a few outtakes which may stir your interest.

“Brains are built over time, from the bottom up.”

“90% of the brain is developed by the time a child is five or six years of age.”

“2.5 million children across the country are enrolled in districts where there are no libraries."

Want to change your life? Want to change the world?

Get proximate to something which makes you uncomfortable and/or unjust.

Your life will never be the same again and I promise, for the better.


Word of the week

Frankly, I don’t have a clue!

Wait, that’s it, the word of the week is CLUE. And, it’s another one of those words.

Clue, look at it, now say it again and again. Kind of weird, right?

But it does make for an awesome board game. The professor, with a rope in the study.

No seriously, it’s a word we use a lot, but do you know it’s origin?

If you do, you probably have an affinity for Greek mythology.

It comes from the word “clew”, meaning ball of yarn.

Ariadne gives Theseus a ball of yarn to help find his way out of Minotaur’s labyrinth. Theseus unraveled the yarn behind him as he entered the maze so he could find his way out in reverse. Thus, the word “clew” came to mean something that points the way. “Clew” attained its modern-day spelling in the 15th century.

If you’re like me, most of the time I don’t feel like I have a clue OR a ball of yarn.


Elon “LUCKY” Musk

Looking for an entertaining, informative and inspiring watch?

I recommend, “Return to Space”. It’s a documentary which is a behind-the-scenes look at the teams of SpaceX engineers, NASA employees and scientists as they prepare for a commercial flight mission to the International Space Station. Candidly, I’m not sure how I feel about our infatuation with space exploration when we clearly have much left to figure out and reconcile here on Mother Earth, but I must admit, it was fascinating and inspiring.

As you may know, Elon Musk is the driving force behind SpaceX and our refreshed ambition to explore this frontier of infinity, space. To say the least, he’s interesting.

In a recent blog post, we discussed the concept of “luck”.

At one point in “Return to Space”, Elon states that luck is the greatest of superpowers.

What say you?

Luck and superpowers are great family dinner topics actually.

“Is luck a superpower?” “Do you believe in luck?”

“What is your superpower?” In other words, what is your best attribute?

But another good one would be, “If you could have any real superpower, what would it be?” “Why?”

If you don’t eat dinner as a family, I highly recommend it.

Bon appetite!


Crazy but graceful

Ever been called “crazy”?

If so, watch this, iconic “The Crazy Ones”.

Feel any better about your craziness?

Now, I’m no Steve Jobs, Amelia Earhart or Albert Einstein, obviously, but I have been called crazy, many times over. But I do think being “crazy” is a prerequisite for even a chance at doing the unthinkable, for greatness. Thinking outside the box, pushing the envelope, believing in something most think is impossible or even stupid. “Unrealistic”, I love that one! Why be realistic? It’s boring.

My 13-year-old daughter watched “Return to Space” (referenced above) with us. I was pleased to hear her surmise on her own, “you know, you need to be a little crazy to do great things.” Amen sister.

But is being crazy while being graceful possible?

We’ve all heard the stories about how challenging it is to work with some of these crazies. Their way or the highway… push, push, push… life is work, work is life… do whatever it takes. Admittedly, I’ve been this way myself at times, even recently. But it’s not the way I want to be. Greatness does not have to be bought with gracelessness and human collateral damage.

Now, I’m not saying being crazy and gracious is easy. But, nothing worth doing is easy, is it?

Maybe I’m crazy for thinking you can be crazy, do the unthinkable while being gracious.

Maybe it’s impossible, but everything is impossible, until it’s not, until it’s done.

Call me crazy, it’s ok.

But don’t let me be crazy alone.

And, don’t let me be crazy without grace.


Waiting for a miracle?

Are you? Anyone you know?

When we think miracles, some of us think biblically.

Some of us think the supernatural.

Some of us think about miracles in a secular way.

No matter the “angle” you take on miracles, I’m here to declare, EVERYTHING is a miracle.

It’s all about expectations and what we see as “normal” or ordinary. Just because something happens every day or is “common” does NOT mean it’s not a miracle.

You reading this, right now, on whatever you’re reading it on, is a miracle.

Me typing, right now, without looking at the keys, is a miracle.

The fact that as just a combination of more than 30 TRILLION cells, thinking and writing this, is a miracle.

(I had to google that fact; GOOGLE is a miracle)

The feelings you experience while reading this, are miracles.

Sustaining life through oxygen, which had to come from somewhere, is a miracle.

You get the picture.

Life, as we know it, is a patchwork of infinite numbers of miracles, happening every second.

There’s no need to wait.

Stop, reflect, your life IS a miracle.

And in my mind, death is a miracle too.

I’m convinced, the more miracles you acknowledge and recognize, the more miracles you’ll see.

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