I had the fortune of participating in a webinar with Dr. Ben Carson this morning. The call was to discuss Federal actions being taken during the COVID-19 pandemic from his perspective as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. There are a couple of things I’ll mention about the call later, but more importantly, first, why I hold him in such high esteem. He is a man I have admired since reading his book, a bestseller, Gifted Hands. If you haven’t had an opportunity to read it, please do! Ben teaches valuable life lessons from his life experiences.
Ben overcame poverty and changed from being the class dummy to being respected for his intelligence. He was raised poor by a single mother who had married at 13, held a third-grade education, and came from “horrible family life.” Ben had a temper, had a tendency toward violence, and had poor self-esteem. All the things you would think could prevent him from success of any kind.
He proudly proclaims his mother is the reason for his success. She always believed in him, wouldn’t accept and excuse, and dreamt that making her children read would free them from poverty. Ben says that when you aren’t allowed to give an excuse, you find solutions. In his reading (BTW his mother couldn’t read), he learned how to drift into a new world, one he wasn’t familiar with, one Ben knew he could enjoy. Through reading, he realized that your success in life comes from your actions and that you control your destiny. That if you thought you were dumb, you are, yet if you thought you were smart, you would act the part and become that too. Your brain is smart enough to make a difference.
He believes that we need to engage in respectful discourse, yet political correctness keeps us from saying what we feel, so speak from your heart. That we all came here on different boats, but we are on the same one now and need to work together. That the leaders who designed our system of government did so for a well informed and educated populace. When we become less informed, we become vulnerable. He recites that his role model is Jesus, who taught in parables, Ben likes doing so as well when he can. Ben suggests that our nation’s symbol, the Bald Eagle, flies high because it has two wings, a right-wing and a left-wing which we need to remember. And that we need to be compassionate to others in need, as we well could have been in similar situations by simple life choices.
What caught my attention on our call were these: First- he said that as a neurosurgeon, he was humbled how families untied around the children he operated on and that he sees us uniting as a country during the pandemic in a similar way. And that from his belief in the bible, phases of life do not last forever, suggesting this to will pass.