After reading Push by Sapphire I felt like I wanted to go out and do something positive and uplifting because the novel was so intense. However, when I read Push the second time; I realized that I missed many of the hurdles and problems that Precious was able to overcome. So I started thinking about what made this possible for Precious? What are some lessons that can be learned and applied?
I recognized 15 factors that helped Precious overcome; I hope this will inspire you to overcome your problems and inspire you to help others to do the same.
1. Precious had a desire for better:
I really want to learn. Everyday I tell myself something gonna happen…I’m gonna break through or somebody gonna break through to me—I’m gonna learn, catch up, be normal, change my seat to the front of the class.
2. Precious experienced genuine affection:
I try to turn away from her Mississippi self but she in the bed now pulling my chest and shoulders into her arms…I feel warm kindness from her I never feel from mama and I start to cry…I crying for me who no one never hold before.
3. Precious found her ticket out and persevered:
I is ready. Ready for school. School something…School gonna help me get out dis house.
4. Precious did something different. She took a risk and conquered the fear and limits of her past experiences:
The whole class quiet. Everybody starring at me, God don’t let me cry. I takes in air through my nose, a big breath, then I start to walk slow to the back. But something like birds or light fly through my heart. And my feet stop. At the first row. An’ for the first time in my life I sits down in the front row.
5. Precious’ strengths were recognized:
“Everybody do something good”, Ms Rain say in soft voice. I shake my head, can’t think of nuffin’ I’m staring at my shoes. “One thing.” Ms. Rain. “I can cook.”
6. Precious took the necessary first step although it was small:
The longest journey begin with a single step, as said by Ms. Rain. Precious’ first step was to learn the alphabet and its correct order. A small step but this step helped her with subsequent giant future steps, leaps and bounds.
7. Precious worked up the courage to voice her areas of need so that she could get help:
I struggle for air. “I…the pages look alike to me.” I breave in deep, there I said it.
8. Precious had someone who believed in her; recognized her potential and was relentless about seeing her succeed:
I think I understand you, Precious. But for now, I want you to try, push yourself Precious, go for it.
9. Precious received positive reinforcement:
“What’s that word?” I say “Ate.” She say, “Good! Almost! That word is “at.”…I want to cry. I want to laugh. I want to hug kiss Miz Rain. She make me feel good.
10. There was high expectations of Precious:
Everyone that Precious came in contact with prior to Ms. Rain did not expect much from her and saw her as dumb and treated her as such. Ms. Rain recognized the potential in Precious and expected a lot from her because of it.
Rhonda say out loud, “How we gonna write for fifteen minutes if we can’t spell?” What we gonna write if we could spell, I wonder. Miz Rain say, “Write what’s on your mind, push yourself to see the letters that represent the words you’re thinking.”
11. Precious recognized that she is someone of value:
I = I somebody.
Inside I thought was so beautiful, is a black girl too.
He my shiny brown boy. In his beauty I see my own.
12. Precious recognized that the abuse she suffered was not her fault:
I don’t feel ashamed—Carl Kenwood Jones freak NOT me!
13. Precious had one person she could trust:
Precious trusted her teacher Ms. Rain and turned to her in her most helpless moment in life when she had nowhere to go. More importantly, Ms. Rain responded and did not let her down.
14. Precious had a good support system:
The girls in Precious’ class were there for her and had similar experiences. They were able to share their stories and help each other heal.
They (the girls) and Ms. Rain is my friends and family.
At least when I look at the girls I see them and when they look they see ME, not what I look like.
Precious also had good community support. She found help through the abuse support group and the HIV Positive support group. Both groups helped her connect with and talk to others who could relate to her problems; consequently Precious did not feel alone.
15. Precious acknowledged when things were beginning to go well and moved on:
I’m alive inside. A bird is my heart. Mama and daddy is not win. I’m winning.
Rita say forget the WHY ME sh@# and git on to what’s next.
Are you ready to PUSH?
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