Shakespeare stated years ago, “There is no darkness but ignorance.” Ignorance is thrust upon the disadvantaged through illiteracy. Illiteracy imprisons its victims, smothering hope and enslaving wonder. Reading emancipates the enslaved and the imprisoned. The knowledge gained through reading enlightens, expands and empowers the individual. Reading is the key to overcoming ignorance by unlocking the door to understanding and questioning.

Success is the objective of most people. Understanding is the key to succeeding. Understanding comes from education and reading. The greatest roadblock to success is fear. Truth is the enemy of fear and this is where understanding through education is crucial. Understanding starts and sustains itself through reading. In a world economy, being able to communicate, dialogue and reason are vital in competing for opportunities and achievements.

English is the most commonly used language in the world. English is so widely spoken that it is often referred to as the “working language” of the modern era. While it is not an official language in most countries, English is currently the language most often taught as a foreign language. A working knowledge of English has become a requirement in business, science and medicine. Young people with competency in English can secure employment and raise their standard of living considerably. In many cases this single achievement can radically change their world for the better.

All parents and loved ones desire that their children learn two things 1- to avoid their mistakes, and 2- to be successful. Teaching a child what it means to be successful and then how to go about achieving success is only part of the process. Motivating children to achieve requires vision and understanding. More than just plans and work, which provide the direction enabling them to achieve goals, an internal drive is required. This drive must be strong enough to overcome the instinct of pain avoidance, as well as the desire for immediate gratification and pleasure. Whether the goal is to play a new sport, learn to write, do better at math, or play an instrument, success is made of simple steps along a defined path performed consistently and intently over time. Large leaps in achievement rarely happen. Small actions compound over time resulting in huge rewards. Knowing what to do isn’t the same as doing it! Success is more than being great in academics or playing on a team, it’s about consistently doing the right thing at the right time. This is where it all starts and that often takes a lot of Courage just to begin.

So what do you give the children of the world to assist them in the pursuit of overcoming ignorance, becoming successful and finding peace?  What do they need to persuade them of the importance of life, family and community? How can you support them in making healthy long-term decisions? What is the single greatest gift you could give to a child anywhere in the high stakes world of today? Karen and I pondered these very questions a few years back and it moved us towards creating various programs to teach English and reading in the hopes of developing character and personal growth for children and families everywhere.

Mature healthy development results in acceptance of all life experiences, both the exhilarating and the challenging. Appreciation for our current condition often leads to a desire to give back to society, and to leave a legacy of good that will outlast us. Once we catch a glimpse of our life in relation to the needs of others, gratitude takes precedence. When the desire to care, lift and inspire outshines the drive to gather, achieve and conquer, personal significance is attained and the quest to give back becomes real.