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I read a book entitled Gifted Hands, the autobiography of Dr. Ben Carson, Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins hospital in Boston. This is what he writes:

"My mother was a remarkable woman who was pregnant and then married at age 13. She worked long hard hours cleaning houses, and my brother and I resented her at times because she was so demanding of us, but we never hated her. Every day, she assured us that we were bright, and that we could be anything we wanted to be, if we were willing to work for it. She managed to make me believe that work would make a difference in my life. We never had any doubts about her love or her support.

"When the guidance counselor placed my brother, Curtis, in a vocational curriculum, Mother guessed that prejudice was involved in the decision, so she went to see the counselor. That night she said, ’I told that counselor woman, "My son Curtis is going to college. I don’t want him in any vocational courses."’ Then she put her hand on my brother’s head and said, ’Curtis, you are now in the college prep courses.’"

I went through a period in High School like many teenagers when I started to let my grades slip and obsess about expensive clothes. Mother denied herself and died to her own ambitions so I could have the clothes I desperately wanted, but she never let up on me about my grades. Not able to read herself, Mother memorized poetry and famous sayings and she quoted them to me, urging me to take charge of my life and create my own destiny. Eventually, she got through to me. I became a top student and earned an almost full scholarship to Yale University."

Today, Dr. Carson is the most sought-after pediatric neurosurgeons in the world and is renowned for his brilliance and commitment to helping desperate people. His mother, Sonja Carson isn’t the kind of person we usually think of when we think of parents letting go, because she is just the opposite: She was strict, she demanded accountability, and she didn’t let her boys choose their own way. She also insisted on excellence, not perfection.

Source: Gene Edwards, "The Blessing Of Letting Go!" 2/17/2009

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