The book and movie, Gifted Hands, by Ben Carson, were pretty compelling for me. It’s the story of change, where a mother lifted herself and her family out of poverty. Sonja Carson set boundaries that no one else living around them was willing or able to do. What were the boundaries? No more than three TV shows a week, and instead of unlimited TV watching, reading 1 book a week and giving a report to her on it.
Former General Sunday school President, Tad Callister gives a summary of the Carson’s story in his talk, “Parents, the Prime Gospel Teachers of Their Children.”
“Ben Carson said of himself, “I was the worst student in my whole fifth-grade class.” One day Ben took a math test with 30 problems. The student behind him corrected it and handed it back. The teacher, Mrs. Williamson, started calling each student’s name for the score. Finally, she got to Ben. Out of embarrassment, he mumbled the answer. Mrs. Williamson, thinking he had said “9,” replied that for Ben to score 9 out of 30 was a wonderful improvement. The student behind Ben then yelled out, “Not nine! … He got none … right.” Ben said he wanted to drop through the floor.’
“At the same time, Ben’s mother, Sonya, faced obstacles of her own. She was one of 24 children, had only a third-grade education, and could not read. She was married at age 13, was divorced, had two sons, and was raising them in the ghettos of Detroit. Nonetheless, she was fiercely self-reliant and had a firm belief that God would help her and her sons if they did their part.’1
These are some of my favorite Sonja Carson quotes throughout the book, Gifted Hands:
“But God helped me every step of the way, even when I didn’t notice.”
“Fortunately, I could see what happened to people on welfare and decided I would try my best to make sure it would not happen to my boys. By working several jobs at a time, I figured we could still have enough to eat and a roof over our heads.”
“Learn to do your best and God will do
“God, you’re going to have to be my friend, my best friend.
And, you’re going to have to tell me how to do things and give me
wisdom, because I don’t know what to do.”
The boundary of changing how much TV the boys watched was a big deal. It was an even bigger deal to have them read a book a week. It changed all of their lives.
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