I was far from being a perfect kid and I’m even further from being a perfect adult. I was raised by a mother and father that didn’t tolerate foolishness. It was dealt with immediately.
As a child, I did the right things in life because it was encouraged. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t have graduated from high school with perfect attendance or with academic honors. Sports and girls were my love and passion.
Around the 8th grade, going to school began to be a burden to me. I was making good grades but I couldn’t see how good grades would equate to a career. Especially my career. I wanted to be a professional baseball player and an entrepreneur as my back up plan.
I was raised at Elizabeth Baptist Church on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Southwest Atlanta. It was considered cool to serve on an auxiliary at church. Church taught me morals. It would have been immoral to drop out of school when so many people in the city of Atlanta sacrificed their life and freedom for me to get a free education.
I never had mentors that played professional baseball but they were accomplished in other areas and willing to put me in the right place at the right time to accomplish my goals. I was willing to stay the course in school because they hadn’t let me down and I didn’t want to let them down.
|A few of my coaches and mentors (left to right) Mike Hurst, Rusty Hudson, Emmett Johnson and Dave Whitfield|
Could you imagine telling your grandmother that you dropped out of high school because it was too hard and you were too lazy to do the work??? After all the hours that she has worked to provide for you??? I couldn’t do it, and the thought of it makes me sick now.
What parent brings a child in the world for them to fail? Mine didn’t. Neither one of my parents have a college degree but they introduced me to Christ, work ethic and discipline to name a few. They too had some rough times but they didn’t give up on me so how could I drop out of school?
|Dad and mom with my daughters|
I’m not the only one that had coaches give countless hours of their time to ensure that I could learn life lessons in sports. They never got paid a dime to help me. There is no way that I could see one of my coaches in public and look him in the eyes and say that I dropped out of high school.
|The Milliner Family were my coaches age 13-16 at Old National Athletic Association|
I remember all of my teachers by first and last name. I spent more hours at school than I did at home. I had some teachers that I didn’t like because they didn’t take it easy on me. They pushed me towards excellence even when I didn’t know excellence was the best thing for me. The good teachers are put on assignment by God. To quit on my teachers was to quit on God.
All of my true friends were smart. Some were lazy like me but they were all smart. If I had dropped out of school and was the only one at home chillin’ while everybody else was at school, I would have gotten ridiculed (AKA “joned out”) to the dullest. So immature and so lame on so many levels.
My future wife
I always wanted to get married young to a good woman. No chance in the world that a good woman would want a man without a high school education.
My unborn children
I loved my parents and I dreamed of having children that loved me. I dreamed of the day that my kids would go to kindergarten, graduate from high school and college. I guess I wouldn’t be a good example to them if I had dropped out of high school.
60% of African-American males in Atlanta Public Schools will not graduate from high school. Question for you young men: If you drop out of high school, who are all the people you will let down? Here a a hint, start with the man in the mirror.