My last post I wrote about the transformation person that Sonja Carson was. Her determination to provide a different life for her sons came one day from an epiphany she had while cleaning houses.
Tad R. Calister continues from his talk in General Conference:
“One day a turning point came in her life and that of her sons. It dawned on her that successful people for whom she cleaned homes had libraries—they read. After work she went home and turned off the television that Ben and his brother were watching. She said in essence: You boys are watching too much television. From now on you can watch three programs a week. In your free time you will go to the library—read two books a week and give me a report.’
“The boys were shocked. Ben said he had never read a book in his entire life except when required to do so at school. They protested, they complained, they argued, but it was to no avail. Then Ben reflected, “She laid down the law. I didn’t like the rule, but her determination to see us improve changed the course of my life.”’
“And what a change it made. By the seventh grade he was at the top of his class. He went on to attend Yale University on a scholarship, then Johns Hopkins medical school, where at age 33 he became its chief of pediatric neurosurgery and a world-renowned surgeon.”
I reflected on this story after I heard it. Kind of in a Lehi’s-Vision-of-the-Tree of-Life-kind-of-way–
I thought of Sonja walking on a wide and dusty road, crowded with people who were tired, and worn down. They were all shuffling along, just going in the same direction because everyone else was. Sonja was being jostled on the crowded road, head down– discouraged. She suddenly realizes she can do things differently, that she can choose to go a different direction. Against the grain! She yells at the top of her voice, “No! You can’t have my children. I lay claim to this time you want to take from them!“
Sonja turns and goes against the large, milling crowd. It’s hard, and she has to use her shoulders to wedge between people with all of her might. She has momentum , but it is still hard to move forward. She keeps going because she knows she still has a choice to change. She feels triumphant! She has the will to go against what everyone else is doing now and she gives God all the credit. She can feel Him by her, helping her not give up and to keep moving forward.
It took only two years for Ben Carson to be at the top of his class. That’s remarkable! His brother, Curtis, is no slouch either. He served in the military, and became an aeronautical engineer.
A neurosurgeon and an aeronautical engineer. Not bad for a mother with a third grade education and who couldn’t read.
Brother Tad Calister said: “
How is that possible? Largely because of a mother who, without many of the advantages of life, magnified her calling as a parent.”
One mother that heard me tell this story said, “I have never thought of parenting as a calling, but it’s the Ultimate Calling.”