Last week our family watched the movie Gifted Hands. It is the story of Ben Carson. Mr. Carson is the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. On the movie it shows him making his mark on society by performing a surgery that cured a girl from having over 100 seizures a day by removing the left hemisphere of her brain. Then he also successfully separated a set of twins born with their heads connected to each other. The surgery had never been done and both children live prior to Dr. Carson performing the surgery.
So what kind of environment would you think he grew up in!?! He was raised in a home that would have been considered disadvantaged by today's standards. His mother could not read and his father was not present. Yet, he grew up to become a famous brain surgeon. I believe it is the power of influence. See his mother did not just accept where they were in life. She made unpopular decisions that would likely have been criticized by society. One day Ms. Carson was cleaning a professors house when she noticed books stacked in front of the television set. It was obvious this man had not watched his tv in quite a while. Then she looked at the wall to wall shelves that went all the way to the ceiling surrounding the room (there had to have been thousands of books). She asked the professor is he had read all of those books and he said he had read most of them. At that point Ms. Carson made a connection between reading and success in life. So she went home and told her sons that from now on they would be allowed to watch only 2 pre-selected tv shows per week. Then she further required them to read two books per week from the library and write an essay on each of them. She then required them to read the essays to her. This changed things for her sons. They went from being D students to being A students. All from reading. It changed the course of their future. She then went further and learned to read. That same professor taught Ms. Carson to read. One of things that stood out to me was during the scene where she told her sons there tv viewing was being limited. Her oldest son protested, "But everyone else watches tv every night." This wise mothers response, "Anyone can be like everyone else." That line has stuck with me. How often do we decide to do something without even thinking about it because it is the norm in our society? Perhaps we should take time to think about it and decide for ourselves about the matter. Maybe if we did make some changes in some of those areas it could change the course of life for ourselves, our family, and society at large. It certainly happened for the Carson family.
We do not have network television, satellite, or cable tv. So we only watch videos. Sometimes I watch a video while I fold laundry. I watched The Pursuit of Happyness one evening and saw another example of influence. Linda was Chris Gardner's live in girlfriend. She was not a positive influence. I call to mind the scene where Chris told her he was going to apply for a job as a stock broker. She then tells him, "What not an astronaut?" Fortunately he was not deterred and went on to success. I started to think about how we need to watch our words. How many times do we say something careless? How might Chris Gardener's success have been even more she had been a positive influence? How might our husbands and children benefit by our being more positive and encouraging influences?
We have a choice to be the influence of Ms. Carson or of Linda. Which one do you want to be? I know I want to be a Ms. Carson.