Last week I was driving and heard an interview with well-known TV and sports personality Stephen A Smith. The interviewer read a portion of his new book and it has stuck with me ever since.

“Please allow me to tell you this, Mrs. Smith,” he began inside the no-frills classroom. “Your son is not a dummy.”

My ears perked up; my attention shifted from whatever was distracting me in the hallway or on the ceiling or outside the window and settled directly on Mr. Caravan. I never knew his first name; I don’t think any of us kids even thought teachers had first names.

“Sometimes he believes he’s a dummy, because he never fails to acknowledge that he got held back twice in elementary school,” Mr. Caravan went on. “It sticks with him. He never lets it go.”

My mother nodded. I don’t think she was sure where this was going.

Neither was I.

“But here is what I’ve noticed about him,” Mr. Caravan continued. “He gets extremely bored very easily. So, if there’s something he is not interested in, he drifts. He pays little to no attention and misses things. But when he’s interested in a subject, he’s as sharp as they come. Find out what he’s interested in and have him do that. You’ll have a star on your hands.”

Stephen A Smith from the Book “Straight Shooter”

It caught my attention because this was my story. It’s been well documented and at times even spoken, I got a 13 on my ACT. I’m not that bright. If you have read this blog or followed me for any period of time, you already know that. I embrace it.

When I was in 3rd grade, I took some kinda smart test. I don’t remember the name of it. Understand, it wasn’t to see if I was smart, it was to determine just how non-smart I was. I remember my mom and I going to see the counselor to hear the results. Mr Kramer kindly informed my mom and I what the test showed.

“He’s not dumb, he’s actually brilliant.”

At least that is what my mom told me after the meeting (I wasn’t paying attention when he read the results.)

You see, it turns out that in those days, dyslexia and ADHD were not words that defined people like me. Thankfully we now have those tools and educators can identify those traits in students. They get more time on tests. They maybe get more grace in their performance.

I’m not complaining. I’ve never been tested. Those that know me best would probably agree, I don’t need to be tested. I check every box.

I have embraced that I don’t know a lot of things. I try to learn as I go. I have become more interested in that which did not interest me. I’m trying to write a book right now. I better know my grammar or I’m gonna drive my editor crazy.

But I am not dumb.

I just needed to find something I was interested in.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be a star. Honestly, that’s not my goal. I just love to pour my passion into things I am interested in.

I drift.

I forget.

I destroy grammar rules and punctuation.

But I am no dummy.

Thank you Stephen A Smith for sharing your story.

Get Stephen A Smith’s book here –