Dr. Ben Carson’s Mother, Sonya Carson’s faith in God and love for her two sons made her one of the greatest mothers of our time.
Ben Carson’s mother was raised in foster homes in the inner city receiving only a third-grade education. She didn’t learn to read. Married at the age of 13 to a 28-year-old man she had two sons. After discovering her husband had another family she left with her sons divorcing him. She raised her sons as a single mother in the inner city of Boston and Detroit. Sonya often worked two or three jobs to support her sons. She had such severe depression with suicidal thoughts that she checked herself into the hospital. Sonya Carson’s faith in God and love for her two sons made her one of the greatest mothers of our time.
After Sonya moved in with her sister in Boston, Massachusetts she and her two sons Curtis and Ben were baptized. Her greatest fear was that her sons would not be successful without an education and living in poverty. She continually prayed for God to lead her in how to raise her boys. “God is greater than any human being, and we have to rely on God to supply all our needs even though we don’t see how we’re going to get them.”
Sonya Carson realized her boys were not doing well in school. Ben was at the bottom of his class telling his mother he was dumb. “You are a smart boy,” she told him. Then she noticed he could not see well. She emptied her cookie jar money to buy him glasses which helped him improve. But it was her insistence that they go to the Detroit Public Library to pick two books to read each week that helped both boys to become outstanding students. Sonya required them to give her book reports asking them to explain the books they read. She went over each report marking them with a red ink pen. The boys had no idea their mother could not read. She also restricted their television time to two programs a week and would not allow them to play until all their homework was done.
Ben Carson’s Mother would say, ‘Do you have a brain?
Sonya Carson continually told her sons to do their best and God would do the rest. Her son Ben said, “I had a mother who believed in me. I had a horrible temper and poor self-esteem. She never made excuses and never accepted excuses from us. Never allowed herself to be a victim. Ben Carson’s Mother would say, ‘Do you have a brain? Then you can think yourself out of that.’”
Dr. Ben Carson became the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland from 1984 until his retirement in 2013. His brother Curtis Carson became an Aeronautical Engineer. Sonya taught her sons, “It doesn’t matter what color you are. If you’re good, you’ll be recognized. Because people, even if they’re prejudiced, are going to want the best. You just have to make being the best your goal in life.”
In 1987, Dr. Ben Carson became a world-renowned neurosurgeon, leading a team to separate Siamese twins who were joined at the back of the head. He pioneered the first successful neurosurgical procedure on a fetus inside the womb. Dr. Carson performed the first completely successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins. He developed new methods to treat brain-stem tumors. Developed new techniques to control seizures. He became the youngest chief of pediatric neurosurgery in the country at age 33. He has received more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees, dozens of national merit citations, and written over 100 neurosurgical publications. In 2008, he was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.
Dr. Ben Carson said, “I not only saw and felt the difference my mother made in my life, I am still living out that difference as a man.”
Sonya Carson went to be with the Lord on November 6, 2017. Although she came from an impoverished background with very little formal education, she somehow understood how success was achieved in our society. She left a great legacy of two successful sons. Dr. Ben Carson said, “If anyone had a reason to make excuses, it was her, but she absolutely refused to be a victim and would not permit us to develop the victim mentality either. Whenever we made an excuse, she quoted this poem;”
Yourself to Blame
by Mayme White Miller.
If things go bad for you
And make you a bit ashamed
Often you will find out that
You have yourself to blame
Swiftly we ran to mischief
And then the bad luck came
Why do we fault others?
We have ourselves to blame
Whatever happens to us,
Here is what we say
“Had it not been for so-and-so
Things wouldn’t have gone that way.”
And if you are short of friends,
I’ll tell you what to do
Make an examination,
You’ll find the faults in you…
You are the captain of your ship,
So agree with the same
If you travel downward
You have yourself to blame
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