Spread Your Wings and Fly
06 July 2018
As parents, watching your child struggle at something can be difficult. Seeing him or her fail can be devastating for both the child and parent. This made me stop and think: “If we don’t believe in our own child and what they are capable of, then who will?”
I recently had some time to re-watch the movie Gifted Hands. Gifted Hands is a story about renowned neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Carson was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1951. His mother, Sonya, was raised in Tennessee in a very large family and dropped out of school in the third grade. With limited prospects in her life, she married Baptist minister and factory worker, Robert Carson, when she was 13. They later had two children, Curtis and Ben. After finding out her husband had another secret family, they divorced and Sonya was left to raise her boys alone in financial hard times.
Sonya proved to be a tremendous influence on her boys and taught them that anything was possible even when they were ridiculed by their classmates for being at the bottom of their classes. “You are a smart boy, you just ain’t using that smartness” she would say over and over.
Determined to turn her sons’ achievements around, Sonya limited their television watching time and made them read two library books a week and give her written reports. Sonya’s poor education meant she could barely read them. At first, Ben resented the strict regimen, but after time he began to find enjoyment in reading and discovering he could be anybody he wanted to be. He used his imagination and over time developed a passion for science. After he finished school, he earned a full scholarship to Yale. He received a BA degree in psychology and later enrolled in the School of Medicine at the University of Michigan, choosing to become a neurosurgeon. Carson went on to become famous for his ability to perform neurosurgery to conjoined twins.
What I love about the Ben Carson story is how his mum believed in he and his brother. She used words of encouragement and spoke positivity into their lives. She loved them for who they were and didn’t compare. The message of “you can be whatever you want to be” is a gentle reminder that we need to be our children’s cheerleaders. Each child is different with unique personalities and talents. Despite these differences, all children need encouragement and to know that their parents believe in them whole-heartedly. It’s then that they will reach their full potential. Let’s choose to believe in our children; to encourage them to dream big, love unconditionally and to spread their wings and fly!