Literacy and an epidemic

“Those in education understand the current state of the nation’s literacy crisis, most everyday Americans are dangerously unaware.” – Nick Gaehde

Either “dangerously unaware”– or – they just don’t care.

Maybe it’s a case of “not my problem”.

Oh, but it is, whether we like it or not.

The alarming rate of illiteracy has a tremendous impact on all of us.

As referenced in a previous blog, low levels of literacy cost the U.S. up to $2.2 trillion annually.

If you still feel like “kicking the can down the road,” think about your children and children’s children.

And if you don’t have children, how about nieces and nephews?

American lack of literacy is an epidemic which is getting worse and deserves serious attention.

Freadom plans to be a big part of the solution.

Being able to read is the most critical skill for anyone who wants to fully claim and realize the freedoms America promises; this is why Freadom exists. Freadom is a social enterprise created to accelerate and amplify the awareness of and advance the cause for literacy.

If you are reading this, you are blessed, you can read!

I encourage you to pass along your blessings by getting engaged in the fight for literacy for all!

Let’s not pass along the “virus” to future generations, let’s “cure” it during our generation.


Rice & HATE

As a start-up, it’s critical to build the proper culture from the outset.

Consequently, we’ve implemented strategies to achieve a winning culture at Freadom.

One such strategy is our Wednesday Weekly Freadom Family Aerie (the nest of an eagle).

During this intentionally scheduled time to connect as a team, we check in personally and share what’s going on outside of “work”. From there, we do a little bible study and pray. Next, we share personal and/or professional wins, which we ceremoniously post on our “Win Wall”. Then, we touch base on operational issues and discuss short and long-term planning considerations. Then, we take a little time for honest feedback among the team. Finally, we conclude with INSPIRATION. Each week, one team member is assigned to provide the inspiration. It could literally be anything, as long as it’s uplifting and inspiring.

This past week’s inspiration was one of the best yet, delivered by Annie, our Operations Steward.

All I’ll say is it has to do with these three words: LOVE, HATE & IGNORE.

I’ll leave it at that but trust me, it’s worth your 5 mins. You need to watch “The Impossible Rice Experiment”. And, please share with others, POWERFUL.


Word of the week

You may have noticed we use the word steward in all of our titles at Team Freadom.

Owner & Steward

Founder & Steward

Chief Creative Steward

Operations Steward

Chief Steward, Production & Support

Steward, Production & Support

But why?

Candidly, we’re really not into titles, but I guess it helps to have them externally, so we oblige reluctantly. We use the word steward because we don’t feel like we found Freadom, but more like Freadom found us. In other words, we’ve been called to the mission of literacy for all. Collectively, we see our involvement in Freadom as an opportunity, a gift, a privilege and a responsibility.

Therefore, we get the honor of looking after and advancing the mission of literacy for all.

We don’t own the movement, nor the mission, we steward it, and we are all grateful for the opportunity.


Good News

I think we can all agree, we’ve had plenty of bad news recently.

Actually, if you are a news watcher (I am not), it seems bad news is ALL there is to report.

Did you watch “The Impossible Rice Experiment” video?

If you haven’t, go back and watch it, please.

When you do, you’ll see how negative vibes might impact all of us.

It’s no wonder we are all so “stressed”.

I’m here to report on some GOOD NEWS, here she goes:

  • Speaking of good news… Rise Vision (digital signage company), in partnership with Good News Network, have installed digital signage in 120 schools in America, providing only positive news headlines into hallways and classrooms.
  • It’s been discovered that using recycled rubber from tires in pavement, doubles the life of roads.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters recently received a $122 million donation from Mackenzie Scott.
  • Recently, divers recovered 12 tons of trash from Lake Tahoe, including engagement rings and wallets.
  • An anonymous donor recently paid off student debts for an entire college class of 2022 in Texas.
  • Last year, the ivory-billed woodpecker was proposed to be extinct after 70 years without a sighting. However, new findings presented by conservationists at the National Aviary believe otherwise and are working to secure protection for lowland forests where the woodpecker would live.
  • The “American Dream” isn’t dead – in a recent survey of small business owners, 65% believed they are living it.

There’s more good news where that came from.

Expect a GOOD NEWS REPORT weekly moving forward, we could all use it.


Grit, as a muscle

Piggy-backing on the above, in a recent survey, 71% of small business owners believe the American Dream can be achieved through sacrifice, risk-taking and hard work. I agree completely.

For years, psychologists have studied the concepts of perseverance, hardiness, resilience and ambition. And it is thought the ideals of persistence and tenacity have been considered a virtue as far back as Aristotle.

In more recent years, these concepts have been distilled down to one word, GRIT.

I personally love the word but I’m afraid Americans, in general, have lost their appetite for grit, compared to past generations.

I’m no expert but I would like to propose a theory.

I believe grit is like a “muscle” and must be developed, over time, not overnight.

And, there’s no easy road to grit, it requires failure.

Oh no, failure? But failure is bad, right? Failure should be avoided at all costs. Not so fast.

Imagine you haven’t been active for your first 30 years of life, let alone work out.

Then, you’re asked to bench press 300 lbs. How do we think that’s going to go?

Needless to say, that’s just not going to happen. In fact, in trying, it’s going to hurt, and bad, most likely causing irreparable damage.

It’s safe to say, that experience might even be dramatic, effecting your desire and ability to try it again.

I believe grit works the same way and needs to be developed from a very young age.

Little failures over time builds strength and resilience, just like developing muscle.

You a little sore, feel pain, after you work out?

The soreness is due to little tears in muscle, or shall we say little “failures”.

These little tears, little “failures”, as they heal, builds muscle and strength.

Translation – little failures over time builds GRIT MUSCLE.

So, what’s my point?

It’s all about children.

We need to encourage failure, and help our children embrace failure.

What do they say? No pain, no gain. So true.

No failure, no GRIT.

We need to CHOOSE GRIT.

And who might be our best personal grit trainer? PARENTS.

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1 comment
  • Brian-I love these blogs.

    Mark Bechtold on

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