A hope note
‘You can become anything you want to be.’ It’s a popular American clich’, and patently untrue.
Proof? As I write, over a year before our country’s next presidential election, about 20 individuals ‘ 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats ‘ are determined to do or say almost anything to become the next president. At least 19 of them will fail.
Nevertheless, I do love to sit at the feet of those who realize their dreams against all odds.
Benjamin Carson is one of those. Carson, director of pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, made history in 1987 by successfully separating Siamese twins joined at the back of the head.
Carson’s mother dropped out of school in the third grade and married when she was 13. She became a domestic worker, raising Benjamin and his older brother by working several jobs at a time.
She made the observation in her life as a domestic that successful people had a lot of books in their homes and spent more time reading than watching television. So, she restricted her children to two or three preselected television programs a week, and required them to check out two books each week from the library and submit to her written book reports. She marked them up with check marks, able to hide from her sons that she, the grader, was illiterate.
Carson credits his mother and books for his success. ‘Although we had no money, between the covers of those books, I could go anywhere, do anything and be anybody.’
Carson, who grew up poor and black in Detroit, would advise this No Child Left Behind generation: ‘Learn for the sake of knowledge and understanding, rather than for the sake of impressing people or taking a test.’
‘By words,’ Aristophanes said, ‘the mind is winged.’