This term we continue on our core value teachings around perseverance and diligence. In the newsletter I want to tell you stories of people who have exemplified these values as an encouragement for what we can achieve in our own lives. In this edition I want to tell you a very condensed version of the story of Benjamin Carson. His whole story is worth reading about and there has also been a movie created about him.
In the fifth grade in the United States, Benjamin Carson thought he was one of the dumbest kids in his class. His classmates though he was one of the dumbest, his teacher apparently thought he was one of the dumbest, and he thought he was one of the dumbest. Therefore, when he brought home a report that reflected poor progress, Benjamin was very philosophical about it. He told his mother, “Yah, you know it doesn’t matter very much”.
His mother had a different opinion. Having only a third grade education herself, Mrs Carson knew that her children’s only chance to escape poverty was through a good education. Her two boys were not reaching their potential at school, and she knew that if they were going to get a good education, it would have to start at home. She began with three rules. First, the boys would only be allowed to watch two pre-selected TV shows per week. Secondly, the two boys would have to finish all their homework before they could watch TV or even play outside. Thirdly, the boys would have to read two books from the library each week and write a book report on each of them.
It would be fair to say Benjamin was pretty dismayed at these new rules and tried very hard to talk his mother out of them. She stood firm, and not willing to disobey his mother, he followed her rules. Before long he saw the fruits of his labour when in class he was the only one who knew an answer to a question the teacher asked! Then there was a second question that only he knew the answer to. His teacher and the rest of the class were surprised that he knew the answers to difficult questions too. He was even a little surprised himself, but he knew his knowledge came from the books he was reading. He began to surmise that if he could learn just a few facts from books at the library he could learn anything.
Ben continued on his road of growth and became an academic leader in his school. He had learned to love reading and realised that he could channel that love into learning. He did not let the labels and mocking of others, create his future. He learned about God and made Him the most important thing in his life. Mrs Carson did not settle for less then her boys were capable of being either, she demanded that they take their education seriously and gave them a structured way they could do it. Ben Carson, the boy who thought he was the dumbest boy in his fifth grade, became a world famous neurosurgeon at the prestigious Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland and was famous for separating conduit twins. He even ran for president in the last election campaign and serves in the current American government administration.
Here’s to having the determination and diligence to be all God created us to be.