Grey Is In
First, a disclaimer. I respect Ben Carson. How could I not? He is remarkably accomplished and his success inspires us all.
I learned about Dr. Carson many years ago from a Reader’s Digest article. I cried when I read it but not because of Ben. It was his Mom, Sonya, that made me emotional.
I’ve always believed parents were a big factor in whether or not kids have a chance at success, and his mother’s actions confirmed that belief. She single-handedly put her two boys on a track for success in spite of her disadvantages.
She dropped out of school in the third grade, was married at 13, raised her children alone and worked multiple jobs regularly. She maintained her family on secondhand clothing and homemade preserves, but none of these limitations prevented her from instilling discipline in her kids.
How did she do it? Easy! She restricted TV watching to only a few selected programs a week and required the boys to read and write reports on two books every week. To maintain accountability, she made a show of inspecting the reports even though she couldn’t read.
Her boys were reading and writing while their friends were playing.
The boys weren’t agreeable at first but they eventually cottoned on to the idea. But forget the kids. Many parents viewed this as torture and warned her against it. To her credit, she didn’t flinch.
Before setting the rules, her kids were failing. Obviously, the strategy worked.
Makes me think of Moses’ mother, Jochebed. She didn’t go along with the crowd either.
By the way, her case suggests that ending a marriage is sometimes better for the kids. She instituted the TV/book report rules at about the same time she sent her bigamist husband packing. If she focused more on saving the marriage, instead of managing the boys, her sons might be leading gangs today instead of public opinion.
As a result of her actions, Ben developed a taste for learning – and hard work – that catapulted him to great heights. He’s performed miracles medically, written several books, received an encyclopedic list of awards and was featured in a movie.