Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Title: A Lesson From "Forrest Gump"


Last year the movie "Forrest Gump" received the most attention at the Annual Academy Awards. What was the magic of this unusual nostalgic movie? Can we learn any lessons from it? I think we can. I recently attended my Dad's 50th class reunion with him. I wanted to meet all the characters I'd heard about all my life. One
of them surprised me with a touching story that proved even famous people can learn from Forrest Gump.

Dr. Gerald Berenson, a world renowned diet researcher and cardiologist at Tulane, was recently given a prestigious lifetime achievement award at his fiftieth med school reunion. The title of his acceptance speech was, "I Just Did Like Forrest Gump". He said that he missed out on the pediatric residency spot that he wanted
at Tulane in 1948. Nevertheless, he took a spot in Internal Medicine Research and Cardiology under Dr. Burch. He became a very bright academic cardiologist. Like Forrest he accepted his situation and did research like they asked him to. Little did he know his research on children's diet and its relation to heart disease would one day make him famous all over the world.

Dr. Berenson grew up in Bogaloosa, LA, a rural farming community.  His parents asked him to please come home after his residency and take care of the family farm. Like Forrest he did as he was asked and directed his research right in Bogaloosa. Over the next 40
years he proved that children's diets do make a critical difference in the development of heart disease. His "Bogaloosa Heart Study" has brought cardiologists, nutritionists, and pediatricians to his rural home town by the thousands. I would say his Forrest Gump
acceptance and optimism certainly brought him success.

What I liked personally about Forrest Gump was how he showed that a person with a borderline intelligence level could be successful in life simply by being honest and loyal, hard working, and always keeping faith. I think Forrest Gump"s characteristics touched all of us in some unique way.

Perhaps we all long to lead our lives in a more simple fashion.  Perhaps we should. We certainly could all benefit from slowing down and living a life focused more on our God, our family, and our friends.