Teen Literacy

This week, we celebrated National Teen Literature Day.

Contemplate this…

In 1980, 60% of high school seniors read for fun every day, in 2016 it dropped to only 16%.


Now, there’s being reading ready; knowing letters & numbers, identifying different colors, understanding the simple mechanics of a book and some basic phonemic awareness, when entering kindergarten. Pretty basic, right? But a pivotal foundation to becoming reading-proficient.

Then there’s Reading proficiency; reading at grade level. In fact, it’s understood that if you are not reading proficient by 3rd grade, you are 4 times more likely to leave high school without a diploma. You can “manage” in life without a high school diploma, yes, but your scope of opportunities is significantly limited.

No one wants to be limited, right? I know I don’t.

So, reading readiness leads to reading proficiency, we’ve gotten that established.

Reading for FUN? Becoming a reading lover?

Absolutely NO CHANCE without the first two steps.

Being a reading lover is a whole new ball game.

Being a reading lover makes a person absolutely UNSTOPPABLE!

And allows for a rich & full life.

This... this is why we need to make our country a reading country.

A country which LOVES to read,

makes it a priority, makes reading a fun and fundamental piece of our culture.

We need to do everything we can to make reading a tool, not a task.

And a tool which we just can’t help to want to use and talk about. ALL. THE. TIME.

AND, a tool available for all, literacy for all!

America runs on Dunkin’?

Nah, America runs on READING.

Can I get an amen?


Road to resentment

I recently heard “the road to resentment is having expectations”.

I love it when I hear something which makes so much sense but marries two concepts which I am all too familiar with respectively. But for some reason, two concepts which I haven’t been able to associate.

I’m guilty, I have high expectations for myself, and for others.

Call them expectations, goals, benchmarks, key performance indicators. They’re all related.

Upon reflection, these expectations have led to me both resenting myself and others.

Resentment is a feeling I despise. I don’t want to resent anyone, and I don’t want anyone to resent me.

Now, at first contemplation, I thought to myself, “yes, that’s IT, I just need to stop having expectations” and everything will be just peachy; no more resentment, no more disappointment, no more frustration.

But then I thought, exactly how’s all this going to work, expect nothing?

Set no goals? No benchmarks?

It made me remember something my father once said,

“Brian, if you continue to aim at nothing, you’ll continue to hit nothing”.

He was right.

At this point, you can imagine I was a bit conflicted.

How do I reconcile these two statements?

“the road to resentment is having expectations” & “aiming at nothing, means you hit nothing”.

And then I realized, my problem isn’t having expectations.

My problem is me ultimately, it’s MY expectations of expectations.

Do I expect all my expectations, for myself and others, to actually happen, what are the chances?

NO, that’s just not reality.

The key is the attitude by which I approach expectations and the condition of my heart and spirit when faced with unmet expectations.

Most of us are familiar with the saying, “under-promise and over-deliver”?

How about this? “Expect a little less and be more pleasantly surprised."


Not just for “believers”

Easter is Sunday. Happy Easter to you and your family!

But I want to focus on Holy Thursday. It just never gets enough attention.

Holy Thursday is the day during Holy Week which commemorates the Washing of the Feet and the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles.

The Last Supper.

Can you imagine?

Sitting down with 12 of the most significant people in your life, knowing it will be for the last time.

It’s your Last Day, your Last Sunset, your Last Supper, your Last Sleep, your Last Everything.

Can you imagine?

What would you eat?

Would you even be hungry?

What would you be thinking about?

Would you be filled with fear or anticipating what you would gain thru death?

Who would be your 12?

What would be your last message to your family & friends?

Would you be thinking about yourself, or those which you are leaving behind?

Would you be satisfied with your life?

We will ALL have our own Last Suppers.

It’s not a question of if, it’s simply a matter of when.

So, I encourage you,

leave no stone unturned,

no song unsung,

no dance undanced,

no dream undreamt,

no love unloved,

no forgiveness unforgiven,

no letter unwritten,

no laugh unlaughed,

no life unlived.


Ziggy, from the vault

I know, my blog entries can be a little “heavy” at times, but I try my hardest to provide you with meaningful content, authentic to me, authentic to life, REAL. I’m not big on fluff.

That said, it’s important for me to make you laugh too.

You’ve “met” my 7-year old son, Ziggy.

His vault for comedic material seems infinite.

Last Halloween, we approached a house which demanded everyone to tell a joke before they dished out the candy. Now you should know, this particular house was handing out full-size snickers bars so, the trick-or-treaters were more than happy to indulge the simple request.

What they didn’t know is Ziggy not only was approaching with a full bag of candy, but also, a full bag of jokes. Here’s the joke he decided to play:

“What do you call a 3 humped camel?” PREGNANT.

No words; just love.

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