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Dr. Carson's Mother Did a Good Job

Notes & Transcripts

Dr. Benjamin Carson, renowned surgeon at Johns Hopkins, tells a moving story about his mother. Mrs. Carson insisted that Ben and his brother Curtis write a book report every couple of weeks. This wasn't for school – this was for their mom. Ben and Curtis dutifully obeyed.

About the time he was in junior high, Ben finally realized something quite shocking. His mom couldn't read. For years Ben had read books and scratched out reports, assuming that his mom was checking every word. But she didn't have a clue what he was saying.

Now consider this: raised by an illiterate mother, Ben grew up to be a world-famous surgeon who was featured in many articles and was the author of several books. His illiterate mom didn't twist her hands over her lack of learning and give up hope of raising intelligent boys. Instead, she gave her boys what she had – interest, accountability, and the courage to demand extra work.

Ben Carson, Gifted Hands, 1990,

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