It is, sadly, an all too common story. Statistically, we usually know what will happen to an African American boy who is raised in poverty by an illiterate single mom, surrounded by crime and ridiculed in school.
But this movie, Gifted Hands, is based on a true story and has an uncommon ending. Not only did this boy avoid crime, prison and addiction (things that are statistically in his future), but he became a world renowned brain surgeon and ran as a candidate for President of the United States.
How does this journey happen and how can more disadvantaged people obtain it? What was Ben Carson's secret? Well, I'll give you a hint: a determined mother, books and God.
As Ben's mom was cleaning the house of a wealthy client one day, she pondered about the difference in their stations. Eventually she realized that the difference could be boiled down to one thing: books. From that day on, Ben and his brother were obligated to read a non-fiction book and write a report about it before they could watch tv as their friends did. This small change would alter the trajectory of Ben's entire life.
As Ben grew and became a teenager, anger threatened to veer his life off course. But instead, a miracle forced him to re-evaluate his choices and their consequences. He decided to turn his life over to God and was able to find peace and hope in difficult situations. His ability to love his fellow man also helped him as he took care of his surgery patients.
I love this story. Whatever you may think of Ben Carson's political ventures and personal beliefs, no one can dispute his journey from poverty and lack of privilege to world wide professional respect and acclaim. This inspirational story shows that faith, self education, determination, hard work and, most especially a mother who takes a long view and sees the big picture, will literally work miracles.
Get this movie, watch it with your kids, and enjoy the awesome discussions your family will have!
*Note: as always, please check the content of this and other movies at www.commonsensemedia.org or kids-in-mind.com before you watch it to make sure you feel it is appropriate for your family.
Family Discussion Guide:
-What did Ben's mother do that was uncommon?
-What gave her the inspiration to have her children read more?
-What did Ben gain because he obeyed his mother by reading books and writing reports?
-How did education help Ben?
-Do you think anyone can do what Ben did? Why or why not?
-What sometimes gets in the way of bettering ourselves? How can we work around it?
-What excuses do we sometimes use to get out of doing things that are good for us?
-What is discipline? How can it help us?
Community Question: How do you inspire those around you to see what is possible?
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