Perception is reality…or is it?

I tell this story often, but when I was in the fourth grade, I became a man.

That sounds crazy I know!

My 4th grade teacher, in his own choice words, told me that I wouldn’t turn out to be anything.  He called me an endangered species. At this time, I didn’t know what he was talking about.  I thought he was calling me some type of animal or something…literally!

Basically he was telling me that I had nothing to offer, telling me that the American dream didn’t have a face in it that looked like mine.  For those of you who haven’t caught on, he told me I was nothing and would soon become irrelevant to society because I was a young Black male.  At that point in my life, I became a man.

I saw him again when I was in high school, attending Flint Central High School – Thee Flint Central.  I was at the library with a friend of mine, and we bump into this teacher.  He asked, “What are you doing here?”  I’m studying, I replied.  He said, “Oh, I thought you’d be a drop out by now”.

With my faith at the forefront, I told myself that ‘that teacher didn’t create me’, so therefore he couldn’t tell me what I could turn out to be.

Famous writer Rick Warren gave the analogy that, “If I gave you an invention that you had never seen before, you wouldn’t know its purpose, and the invention itself wouldn’t be able to tell you either.  You would have to do one of two things.  Get the owner’s manual.  Or ask the creator of the invention.”  This is the only way you can find out its purpose.

So in my life, bringing that into reality, my owner’s manual was my Bible, and my creator was God.  So I could care less what other people had to say about me, or what other people thought I would turn out to be.  His perception of me was his reality – but it wasn’t mine.  In the most humble tone, I credit many of my successes to his disbelief in me.  Thanks teach!

The Motivation for me is them telling me what I could not be. Oh well. – Jay Z

With God, nothing is impossible…


10 thoughts on “Perception is reality…or is it?”

  1. That’s why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, yet judge it by its content and purpose and how you perceive it.

  2. David,
    I love the concept nof the blog. Coincidentally, I had the same experience in middle school. A teacher actually wrote a note to my mom that stated…and I quote, “Your son does not have the capacity to be in a normal class. He is a class clown and will not amount to anything. He is going to be a statistic and end up in jail” Of course my mother didn’t share the letter with me until I was a 10th grader, but it was a wake up call. I was floored, angry and hurt after I read the letter (which I have one of the two that the teacher actually wrote!). Who was this teacher to say that I was an idiot…a number…dumb…a nobody? I call it fuel to succeed. It amazes me that the same teacher has asked me to volunteer for projects that he has initiated. I do it, not because of him, but inspite of him. Why? I don’t ever want to give him the fuel to tell that to another kid…ever.

    David, you know that I am always proud of you and what you stand for. Keep doing you. It’s a great look! Let’s keep changing the world…one person at a time!


    1. Marty –

      Thanks for reading and thanks for your comments. You have surely been a mentor and an influence in my life. From day one, you’ve always told me how important it was to ‘keep the main thing the main thing’. I thank you for that.

  3. I am so proud of the person that you have become and even more proud of the journey that you are on. Great job!


  4. The crazy thing about this is it happens everyday to another young black male. Im proud to say he helped you get to where you are today.

  5. Thank goodness for people like Ms. Zanetta. Who, with a southern drawl, would always remind the class – “I like David McGhee” 🙂

    Officially subscribing to the blog. Good job sir!

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