Who Are You Not to Shine?


I believe you have to know where you come from to know where you are going. Many people have personal conflicts that stop them from attempting new ventures. Often the energy will be from whoever your surrounded by. You must get to the bottom of why you feel the way you do about yourself (good or bad).

You are going to need this information to help guide you through the struggles that may take place in the future. When I was a child, I was exposed to a father who was a great entertainer and a well loved businessman in the community. My father has been dead for more than twenty years and I still have people asking, “Are you Jesse’s son?”  I always thought my father was the first serious entrepreneur in my family. Recently I found out that my father came from a long line of serious hard working men and women. This not only made me proud, but gave me the confidence to persevere under any circumstances.

After my father died in 1989, my mother struggled to take care of the family. She had no education, a large mortgage, and two businesses she did not know how to run. She eventually lost everything after not paying the taxes. This made the 1990’s the most difficult time of my life. No father, no money, and no guidance. If my father had not died I may have learned things that could have saved me a lot of pain over the years. After I found out more information about my father’s side of the family, it changed the direction of my life.

My grandmother was a serious part of the Mississippi and Tennessee civil rights movement in the 1950’s and1960’s. I did not discover this until I was thirteen years old searching through my brother’s (hidden) VHS tape collection. I found a tape called “The Oral History of Thelma Glover Childress”. It was a documentary film by a TV Station in the late 80’s or early 90’s. What I observed gave me a since of pride that I carry with me today.

I learned my family owned the land they worked.   Some say my father was a little spoiled as a child but still turned out to be a very smart, hardworking man. Most of my family had enough education to make it to college or even leave Mississippi. I always thought my father’s side of the family was similar to my mother’s side which contained hard workers, but with no education. After discovering this information I knew I had to go to college. I knew I had to stand tall because I was “only facing what other men have met” (Edgar Albert Guest).

Before gaining knowledge of my family’s history it never occurred to me to continue my education after high school., In addition to feeling that college was “not for everyone” (a theory that my mother’s side of the family still believes) I didn’t think I would fit in. Unfortunately, this is how people think when they don’t know who they are. Some people choose to settle for what they see around them, not stopping to consider that there is more to life than the life they know.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you have to go to college in order to succeed in life. There a people with strong work ethics on my mom’s side of the family.  My mother’s father, Robert Johnson, was one of the hardest working men I have ever known even though he had no formal  education. He worked until he was forced to stop because of stroke. Robert Johnson worked for Sherman-Williams paint factory for almost fifty years. He was also a firm believer in what I like to call having a “side hustle”. In my life time I witnessed him opening two fried chicken and soul food restaurants. I have always admired how hard my grandfather worked. Robert woke at four and five in the morning to take care of his family. I wish more people thought like my grandfather. This work ethic has not been successfully duplicated yet on my mother’s side of the family and I pray that this book uplifts them and helps change their perspective.

Now let’s get back on topic… People lose jobs and have physical/mental hardships every day. If they don’t know who they are or where they come from, this can be devastating.

Rashad Glover's DNA

Rashad Glover’s DNA

I know it hurts to have your income decreased by economic downfalls or the fact that you don’t have the education or training you desire. However, if you know what you are capable of, and what your parents were capable of, you should know that’s the same DNA runs through your veins (good or bad). Who are you not to shine? Do your research; find out who did what in your family or in your community. Find out who graduated from the same schools you did. Read about great people you admire. You have nothing to lose by studying those who came before you.