How She Raised a Neurosurgeon[Parenting Tips]
From attempted murder, neurosurgeon and now presidential candidate. . .
- Overcoming hardships
- Reaching your goals
- Raising boys and girls successfully
- Increasing your capacity to learn
- Helping your children improve at school
Married at 13, Are you KIDDING!
We can all relate to struggles in life! Sonya is no different to any of us, however she was served an extra big bowl of bad luck.
She was born into a large, unhappy family. She grew up in the 1950s in Detroit’s southwest side, and moved from one foster home to another.
She only achieved a third grade education and at age 13 was forced to marry Robert Carson – yes that’s right, married at aged 13.
For the next 14 years, her marriage was a fairly happy one until she found out her husband had a second wife AND a second family. Her world was shattered.
Single, Broke, Illiterate, Depressed – and with two kids
Sonya Carson found herself a single mother to seven-year-old Curtis, and five-year-old Ben. She had no money, no skills, little education, and struggled with crippling depression and anxiety.
Read her dramatic story in her own words in Ben Carson’s book Think Big. Contact one our of staff for a copy by filling out the form at the top of this page.
Is there a happy ending to this story, or did things go from bad to worse?
Sonya says that attitude is was what turned her life around.
Her motto became: “If anybody else can do it, you can do it better.”
Using her motto as leverage, she used it to teach herself to read.
She also encouraged her two boys; Ben and Curtis to achieve what ever they wanted to in life.
Although the her boys did not know she couldn’t read, she famously forced her sons to read two books a week and deliver book reports to her.
Single Parents NEVER give up!
In 1969 Sonya Carson completed her high school equivalency and later received an honorary degree. Inspired by their mother’s example, and uplifted by her constant faith in them, her sons also went on to become educated and successful.
Curtis became a successful a mechanical engineer and Ben became known around the world for his ground-breaking neurosurgery and his 2016 campaign for the US presidency. He consistently attributes his mother’s indomitable spirit, work ethic and spiritual beliefs to his rise. In 2009, a movie was made about Ben Carson’s incredible story.
Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson story
Dead Beat Black Kid!
Ben had all the excuses in the world. He grew up in inner city Detroit in a poor home and without a father. In fifth grade he had the lowest grades in his class. He struggled with racism and a dangerous temper.
At 14 years of age he attempted to stab someone in the stomach with a knife.
Despite these hurdles and more, Ben Carson rose to the top of his class and not only completed his schooling but went on to become a world-class neurosurgeon, the youngest ever director of paediatric neurosurgery at John Hopkins Medical Institute, author and a candidate for the 2016 US presidency.
In 1987 Ben Carson led a team of medical staff in ground-breaking surgery to separate Siamese twins who were joined at the head. Twins like these had never been successfully separated before.
The surgery propelled Ben Carson to fame. Along with his other extraordinary surgeries, he soon became known as one of the best neurosurgeons in the world.
In 2015 – after much encouragement – Carson announced his candidacy for President of the United States. He has risen so far from the poor streets of Detroit, to being on track to contest for the highest office in the country. Despite the many challenges and obstacles in his life, he has overcome and succeeded.
Boy with Attitude
Like his mother Sonya, success for Ben Carson begins with attitude. Applying attitude to what he sees as his seven keys to success took him from potential failure and an unfulfilled life, to impacting the world in such a positive and profound way.
From Ben to YOU!
So what are Ben Carson’s 7 Keys to success?
1. Something New…
When young Ben Carson handed his mother his fifth grade report. He had the worst grades in the class. He was failing several subjects and beginning to believe the taunts of the other kids who called him dumb. Sonya Carson only had a third grade education but believed in her son and was determined to help him.
While cleaning houses to support her boys she noticed that all of the rich people she worked for had large book collections. This realisation gave her an idea. She sat Ben and his older brother Curtis down to inform them that they could now only watch three television shows a week. They also had to read two books each week and report on what they learnt. Learning something new everyday is a great life phiolosophy!
Starting to read opened Ben’s life to a whole new world of possibilities, and he began to improve in school. “Reading obviously changed my perception of who I was,”
2. Hooking up with the Right People
Ben Carson’s book Think Big pays tribute to a number of people who helped him grow along the way. Besides his mother, these mentors included his science teacher, music teacher, a church friend, other doctors, and medical supervisors.
Carson didn’t actively look for mentors, but the generous support, encouragement, and wisdom from these people helped shape him into the man he is today. Mentors aren’t easy to find. Order Think Big today to read more about how Carson found successful mentors. (Fill out form at top of page)
3. I Need Help
Sonya Carson knew how tough it was to be a single mother raising boys. She worked multiple cleaning jobs, doing ten to fifteen hours each day. She only had a third grade education and had to teach herself to read. Understandably, Sonya Carson suffered with depression and anxiety that sometimes crippled her. At one point she even attempted suicide.
Her doctor encouraged Sonya Carson to speak to a psychologist, who showed her how to get further help. When things got too difficult, she would check herself into a mental hospital, leaving her sons in her sister’s care.
Sonya Carson recognised that she couldn’t do it all on her own. She couldn’t! In fact none of us can. Our site “Living Well Resources” is all about supporting people’s wellbeing. There is no agenda, no hassle, no sales pitch. We do it for one reason – just because we care about people! We are only a bookmark away! Otherwise contact us now. Register now for a no-obligation home visit. (Fill out form at top of page)
4. Thinking Big
Sonya Carson’s motto was “you can do anything anyone else can, only try to do it better.” When Ben brought home failing grades, she praised any slight improvement and spurred him on. This attitude rubbed off onto Ben.
As a surgeon, he found that his patient’s attitude was one of the strongest indicators for a successful recovery. Science tells us that attitude significantly influences the body’s ability to fight disease. reference
Ben calls positivity ‘thinking big’. It’s his motto for seeking excellence and trying new things. There were many times when Ben was discouraged, but he never let his doubts take over.
Now Ben Carson works to encourage young people, through his scholarship fund, speaking tours, and resources for teenagers. His book “You Have a Brain” is an excellent resource (Fill out form at top of page to obtain your copy).
5. 1 + 1 is Not Always 2
Throughout his first year in med school, Ben Carson found that he wasn’t getting much out of attending lectures. He found that studying the books proved to be a better technique. During his second year he went to very few classes, electing to spend the entire day from 6am to 11pm studying his text books. To supplement his learning, he also bought class notes from other students.
Knowing how he learnt best paid off when he began working in the hospital wards. He knew answers that none of the other students or interns knew.
6. Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
Reading didn’t come naturally to Carson. At the time his mother asked him to read two books every week, Ben had never read an entire book outside of class. It seemed like an impossible task. But that one act turned his life around.
Entering the “uncomfortable zone” led to other great opportunity later in life. Looking for his first job after finishing his residency, a friend suggested that Ben Carson go to Australia. Even though it meant major challenges, Ben decided to give it a go. The results? Not only did he soon become a local expert in brain surgery, but he gained more experience in one year than many doctors get in a lifetime. More of these stories about opportunities, experiences and feats can be found in his book Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. (Fill out form at top of page to get your copy)
7. Oh for the Belt Buckle! [Fate or Faith]
Ben struggled with a terrible temper all through his junior years. At age 14 Ben tried to stab his friend; the knife caught on his friend’s belt buckle, saving his life.
Ben knew at that moment that his temper would destroy him if he didn’t get it under control. He turned to God and begged for help. He never had another outburst. It was the beginning of a life-long faith in God.
That very afternoon, Ben began his daily habit of reading the Bible – yes that’s right, the Bible! The book of Proverbs soon became one of his favourite books of the Bible. Even now, Ben strongly believes that God uses his hands to bring healing to others and asks each of his patients if he can pray with them before he operates.
“My faith in God has been intensely personal and an important part of who I am…He changed me.” (pg 61 Gifted Hands)
The Run . . . for Presidency
In May 2015, Ben Carson announced his that he was running as a candidate for president of the United States of America.
Since then his popularity has grown. Based on social media popularity, some have called Ben Carson the winner of the August 2015 Republicans’ debate. This will be a race to watch for US citizens, but it’s also an inspiration for everyone around the world.
There’s a Bit of Ben in Each of Us?
Ben Carson’s keys to success may not be earth shattering, they may not be a marvel of modern science, they may not even make a news headline – but they work! Why? They’re simple and reachable for anyone! The hardest part is actually embracing them and putting things in place to start living them out.
How does that work? Firstly – believe in yourself!
Secondly – believe that others believe in you!
Then try it! Try adding just one of these steps into your week and grow good habits from there. Watch the seed sprout, the seedling grow, the plant flourish and the fruit bear.
Stay positive! Water your plant! Protect it !
Challenge yourself, read, learn in the way that works best for you, and find mentors who you respect and who help you grow and BELIEVE!
Do you need help? They may be simple steps but implementing them is difficult – otherwise we ALL would be doing it right?
We can help! Our Facilitators are trained in helping people achieve optimum wellbeing. Our services are free and our resources cover a range of life resources.