A Hero in my Book

Benjamin Solomon Carson was raised by his 3rd-grade-educated, illiterate, single mother in one of the most impoverished sections of Detroit.  In his words, she "pulled a fast one" on him and his brother by encouraging them (and sometimes forcing them) to read anything and everything they could get their hands on, when she couldn't even read herself.  He evolved from hating it, to liking it, to loving it, and ultimately craving it.  He realized that through learning was the ticket out of poverty...and out of any situation, really.

In about a year he went from the popularly dubbed "dumbest kid in the school" [kids are ruthless] to the smartest in his class.  All thanks to reading and a thirst for more knowledge. 

Dr. Benjamin Carson is now one of the most accomplished neurosurgeons of all time, literally carrying out God's miracles through the gift of his hands.  He's performed so many unbelievable surgeries including countless seperations of conjoined twins, intra-uterine spinal surgeries on yet unborn children, and hemispherectomies which remove half of the brain to stop seizures, allowing the other half to compensate for the missing half (and it does!).  On a personal note, he has been the surgeon to a dear friend of my family's who was born with spina bifida.  In his mother's own words, they are so blessed to have Dr. Carson as their surgeon.

Dr. Carson has written two books; Gifted Hands (an auto-biography) and Think Big (a motivational book).  The 2nd is an acronym for:

Talent: Our Creator has endowed all of us not just with the ability to sing, dance or throw a ball, but with intellectual talent. Start getting in touch with that part of you that is intellectual and develop that, and think of careers that will allow you to use that.

Honesty: If you lead a clean and honest life, you don't put skeletons in the closet. If you put skeletons in the closet, they definitely will come back just when you don't want to see them and ruin your life.

Insight: It comes from people who have already gone where you're trying to go. Learn from their triumphs and their mistakes.

Nice: If you're nice to people, then once they get over the suspicion of why you're being nice, they will be nice to you.

Knowledge: It makes you into a more valuable person. The more knowledge you have, the more people need you. It's an interesting phenomenon, but when people need you, they pay you, so you'll be okay in life.

Books: They are the mechanism for obtaining knowledge, as opposed to television.

In-Depth Learning: Learn for the sake of knowledge and understanding, rather than for the sake of impressing people or taking a test.

God: Never get too big for Him.

Carson further outlines what he believes to be the keys to success: "One's ability to discover his or her potential for excellence; the acquisition of knowledge to develop it; and a willingness to help others."

While I definitely don't claim to be on the same level intellectually as Dr. Carson and I'm certainly not wise (or motivational for that matter!), I have expressed before that I believe success is measured in the ability to live up to one's God-given potential.  Reading the biography of a man who overcame the situation into which he was born, ultimately to become not only a physician but a notable neurosurgeon who performs God's miracles on daily basis, I'd say this rings true.

I pray this for my children (and truthfully for everyone).  That you will always know that you were successful, as long as you did the best you could possibly do.  That you can do amazing things when you tap into your potential.  That you *never* let someone tell you, "you can't"...because chances are, You Can.

This is my thanks to Dr. Carson who is not only a respected neurosurgeon, but a respectable one.  And this wouldn't be complete without a thanks to Sonya Carson, his mother, for recognizing the potential in her children and doing an amazing job raising them in the direst of circumstances.  They are *both* heroes in my book.


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