From Slow Learner To
Brilliant Brain Surgeon
THINK BIG - YOU’VE GOT TO UNLEASH YOUR POTENTIAL
Coming from a broken home in Detroit, Michigan, Ben Carson developed a terrible hot temper along with severe low self-esteem at a very young age. He was just another kid trying to survive. His possibility for a decent future didn’t look good. The deck was definitely stacked against him.
Remember though, that in America, it doesn’t matter what cards you are dealt, it only matters how you play the hand, and the Carson family managed to play their hand quite well. Today, Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, Sr. is the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery of the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland as well as one of the world’s top brain surgeons.
Instrumental in building up that initially weak deck of cards was Ben’s mother, Sonya who was the rock of the family. She went through some tremendous challenges in her youth as well, in-and-out of foster homes, a third grade education, married at thirteen and heart problems. Worst of all, she found out that her husband, a minister, already had a wife on the other side of town with five children. With all of these challenges she was determined that somehow her two boys would one-day amount to something good.
“I did not like school very much and there was no reason why I should,” recalls Carson. “Inasmuch as I was the dumbest kid in the class, what did I have to look forward to? The others laughed at me and made jokes about me every day. I really felt I was the stupidest kid in the fifth grade.” It was his mother’s love that stressed that education was the only way he was ever going to escape poverty.
She sought guidance through prayer about Ben and his older brother Curtis’ situation. She was given the wisdom, which was to limit the boy’s television viewing to only two pre-selected programs per week. They were currently wasting away with mindless TV. Also, they would each be required to read two books per week and do a written book report on them. “Even though I was in the fifth grade, I had never read a whole book in my life,” Dr. Carson states matter-of-factly.
One day in the later half of the sixth grade, Carson’s science teacher held up a stone and asked the class what it was. No one answered, not even the smartest kids. Ben knew what it was, from his weekly book readings. He raised his hand and said “obsidian.” The teacher, amazed, said that is right. That became a turning point in young Benjamin’s future. Never again was he to be teased as the “stupidest” kid.
Hard and long hours of study awarded Carson a scholarship to Yale University. He continued his studies at the University of Michigan Medical School where he studied neurosurgery. After graduating, he moved on to Johns Hopkins University where he later worked his way up to Director of Pediatric Surgery. At age 32, he became the youngest surgeon in the nation to hold that distinguished title.