image courtesy of Black History Heroes
“Reading about nature is fine,
but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully,
he can learn more than what is in books,
for they speak with the voice of God.”
– George Washington Carver
From a very young child, George Washington Carver was very inquisitive. When he was ten, he asked his foster parents why are grapes purple while visiting a vineyard. His foster father didn’t know and said, “Nobody knows.”
“Does God know?” George asked.
“Of course he does.”
“Then I’ll ask him,” George responded, and left the room.
The foster father was incredulous saying George shouldn’t talk that way. “He sounded as if he were going to meet God out there – around the house.”
For George Washington Carver, that is exactly what he did. During one of his lecture, Dr. Carver described the conversation with God that got him started studying the peanut.
I asked, “Dear Creator, please tell me what the universe was made for?”
The great Creator answered, “You want to know too much for that little mind of yours. Ask something more your size.”
Then I asked, “Dear Creator, tell me what a man was made for.”
Again the great Creator replied, “Little man, you still ask too much. cut down the extent of your request and improve your intent.”
So then I asked, “Please, Mr. Creator, will you tell me why the peanut was made?”
“That’s better, but even then it’s infinite. What do you want to know about the peanut?”
“Mr. Creator, can I make milk out of the peanut?”
“What kind of milk do you want, good Jersey milk or just plain boarding-house milk?”
And then the great Creator taught me how to take the peanut apart and put it back together again.
Dr. Carver revolutionized the southern agricultural economy by showing that 300 products could be derived from the peanut. The National Peanut Board reports Dr. Carver’s works to include food products that ranged from “peanut lemon punch, chili sauce, caramel, peanut sausage, mayonnaise and coffee. Cosmetics included face powder, shampoo, shaving cream and hand lotion. Insecticides, glue, charcoal, rubber, nitroglycerine, plastics and axle grease are just a few of the many valuable peanut products discovered by Dr. Carver.” By 1938, peanuts had become a $200 million industry and a chief product of Alabama. Carver also demonstrated that 100 different products could be derived from the sweet potato.
Although he did hold three patents, Carver never patented most of the many discoveries he made while at Tuskegee, saying “God gave them to me, how can I sell them to someone else?”
Dr. Carver works included the development of agricultural derived adhesives, gasoline fuel, shaving cream, shampoos, hand lotions, insecticide, glue, bleach, sugar, synthetic rubber, and other innovations from natural agricultural resources. He devoted his life to understanding nature and the alternative uses of a simple plant. He is reported to have extracted medicines from weeds and through the separation of fats, oils, gums, resins and sugars.
There are amazine discoveries yet to be found that God is waiting on someone to ask Him about. George Washington Carver is an excellent model for us of how God wants to speak to us.
Most of this information was found in a great little book called, 100 Amazing Answers to Prayer by William and Randy Petersen.
Just for kicks, here are eight cardinal rules Dr. Carver gave for his students:
- Be clean both inside and out.
- Neither look up to the rich nor down on the poor.
- Lose, if need be, without squealing.
- Win without bragging.
- Always be considerate of women, children, and older people.
- Be too brave to lie.
- Be too generous to cheat.
- Take your share of the world and let others take theirs.