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Self-improvement month a good time to get better


Are there any areas in your life that are sub-par? September is Self Improvement Month.

One of my favorite examples of a parent helping her children to improve is that of Sonya Carson. Married at age 13, she became a divorced single mother living in a Detroit ghetto and working two or three jobs to avoid welfare.

Her sons Ben and Curtis were doing poorly in school. Besides facing racial prejudice for being African-American, Ben was the target of "dummy" jokes and was called the dumbest kid in the fifth grade.

Distraught and not knowing what to do, all Carson could do was pray for wisdom. Then came a plan: She turned off the television and told the boys they had to go to the Detroit Public Library, read two books a week and submit two book reports a week to her.

The boys wrote their book reports, which their mother looked over approvingly. At the library, Ben excitedly realized that books opened the world to him, that through books he could go beyond his current life — to Spain and Africa and beyond!

By seventh grade, he was the top student in his class.

What Ben and Curtis didn’t know then was that their mother had only a third-grade education and couldn’t really read their book reports.

Ben attended Yale on a full scholarship and went on to medical school. At age 33 he became the chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins and led a team in the first successful separation of conjoined twins attached at the head.

His brother Curtis became a mechanical engineer.

This mother with limited education and lack of resources successfully helped her children improve, and it didn’t cost a cent.

Carson eventually completed her education with a degree in interior design.

What area of your life can you begin to improve this month?

Borrowing free library books is a good place to start.

It will be time well spent.

Ruth Wong owns Organization Plus. Contact her by e-mail at


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