Published June 02, 2013Ben Carson grew up in a single parent home where he was challenged by dire poverty, poor grades, a horrible temper and low self-esteem. Although he dreamed of being a doctor, Carson struggled until his mother, with only a third-grade education, challenged Carson and his brother to strive for excellence. Carson eventually overcame his temper and low self-esteem to realize his dream. He is currently professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the author of five books including Gifted Hands and THINK BIG.
Seventeen years ago, Carson and his wife wanted to encourage children across the country to recognize their dreams. Together they started the Carson Scholars Fund to recognize and reward the best and brightest students across the country. To date they have 2,300 alumni and have paid out over $2.5 million in scholarships.
During a recent Carson scholars award ceremony, Dr. Carson congratulated the fourth through 11th grade scholarship recipients. These young people have at least a 3.75 GPA, demonstrate humanitarian qualities, serve on Student Councils, some have founded their own non-profit while others are taking college level courses. They are from all walks of life and have demonstrated they are innovative thinkers and leaders and aren’t afraid to question the status quo.
After celebrating their accomplishments, Carson challenged Scholars to THINK BIG as he shared the following words:
- “T stands for talent," said Carson. “We are all born with God-given talents. We have a responsibility to develop them to the best of our ability.”
- H is for honesty. Carson told the crowd about a time when a woman accused him of fathering a child with her. As the media frenzy was at its height, he told the students he was not worried because he knew something nobody else knew. He had never slept with anyone besides his wife. “Skeletons in the closet will come back to haunt you,” said Carson. “The life you lead will always trump any accusation anybody makes about you.”
- I stands for insight. Learning from others will allow you to go further faster.
- “N is for nice,” said Carson. “Be nice to others and they will be nice to you. Don’t talk about people behind their back. Speak to people. Help people who are struggling. Think about others first.”
- K stands for knowledge. Material things really don’t matter. Knowledge, wisdom and understanding are more important. Knowledge will help you develop your God-given talents.
- “B is for books,” said Carson. “Reading will expand your mind and take you amazing places. I remember I hated that we were poor. When my mom started making us read books, I found out I could go lots of places in my mind. You need to read actively. Not doing this is like thinking that you can develop muscles by watching somebody else work out.”
- I stands for in depth learning versus cramming. So many young people wait until the last minute to study for a test. Carson told scholars that learning is an opportunity and encouraged them to look at it as a gift.
- “G stands for God,” said Carson. “Our nation was founded on Judeo Christian values. There is nothing wrong with using Godly principles to guide your life.”
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As a Certified Family Life Educator Julie writes and speaks on issues related to strengthening marriages and families.