Another excellent example of a mother who prospered her children’s mind is Ben Carson’s mother Sonya Carson.
“Sonya had only had an education until third grade. After leaving her husband who was abusive, she was left with supporting her sons Ben and Curtis. Ben was eight and Curtis was 10 when Sonya was left to raise the children on her own.
The family was very poor, and to make ends meet Sonya sometimes took on two or three jobs at a time in order to provide for her boys. There were occasions when her boys wouldn’t see her for days at a time, because she would go to work at 5:00 AM and come home around 11:00 PM, going from one job to the next. She was frugal with the family’s finances, cleaning and patching clothes from the Goodwill in order to dress the boys. The family would also go to local farmers and offer to pick corn or other vegetables in exchange for a portion of the yield. She would then can the produce for the kids’ meals. Her actions, and the way she managed the family, proved to be a tremendous influence on Ben and Curtis. Sonya also taught her boys that anything was possible. By his recollection many years later, Ben Carson had thoughts of a career in medicine, though it was more of a fantasy many young children harbor as they grow up.
Because his family was on medical assistance, they would have to wait for hours to be seen by one of the interns at the hospital. Ben would listen to the pulse of the hospital as doctors and nurses went about their routines. Occasionally, there’d be an emergency and he could hear in people’s voices and in their quick movements the pace and emotions rise to meet the challenge. He’d hear the PA system call for a “Dr. Jones” and fantasized that one day they’d be calling for a “Dr. Carson.” Both Ben and his brother experienced difficulty in school.
Ben fell to the bottom of his class, and became the object of ridicule by his classmates. He developed a violent and uncontrollable temper, and was known to attack other children at the slightest provocation. The poverty he lived in and the difficult times he experienced in school seem to exacerbate the anger and rage. Determined to turn her sons around, Sonya limited their TV time to just a few select programs and refused to let them go outside to play until they’d finished their homework. She was criticized for this by her friends, who said her boys would grow up to hate her. But she was determined that her sons would have greater opportunities than she did.
She required them to read two library books a week and give her written reports, even though with her poor education she could barely read them. She would take the papers and review them, scanning over the words and turning pages. Then she would place a checkmark at the top of the page showing her approval. At first, Ben resented the strict regimen. While his friends were playing outside, he was stuck in the house, forced to read a book or do his homework. But after several weeks of his mother’s unrelenting position, he began to find enjoyment in reading.
Being poor, there wasn’t much opportunity to go anywhere. But between the covers of a book he could go anyplace, be anybody, and do anything. Ben began to learn how to use his imagination and found it more enjoyable than watching television. This attraction to reading soon led to a strong desire to learn more. Carson read books on all types of subjects and found connections between them. He saw himself as the central character of what he was reading, even if it was a technical book or an encyclopedia.
He read about people in laboratories, pouring chemicals into a beaker or flask, or discovering galaxies, or peering into a microscope. He began to see himself differently, different than the other kids in his neighborhood who only wanted to get out of school, get some nice clothes, and a nice car. He saw that he could become the scientist or physician he had dreamed about. Staying focused on this vision of his future helped him get through some of the more difficult times.Ben went on to Yale University where he got a degree in neurology.
From Biography.com. You may read the full story HERE.
Today, Ben Carson is a neurosurgeon and the director of Pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. None of this might have been possible if Sonya Carson had not enforced and encouraged her son to open up his mind to the world of knowledge.
“If communal family life is important-if family members must feel some social responsibility to talk together as a family about life, ideas, and values-then we have to make a decision to have it happen. We can’t afford to let either the television or the computer run our lives. If we are dumbing-down our lives by not reading, we have some decision to make. Real life beckons us to reach for the highest.” Honey For a Teen’s Heart.