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In 2017, Sonya Carson passed away aged 88. She was the mother of Dr Ben Carson, world-renowned neurosurgeon , writer, politician and man of faith. 

As Dr Carson said at the time of her death:

“All that I am is because of the love of my mother. She was one of God’s greatest blessings to me, and it was her foresight and discernment that pushed me to reach my dreams.”

So here is a story about a true America hero. Sonya Carson. Oh, and her son, Ben.

She was born in 1928 and grew up as part of a large family in rural Tennessee. Sonya left school after completing 3rd Grade and was unable to read or write. When she was 13 years old, she met and married a World War II Army Veteran Robert Carson. He was 28 years old. 

They had two sons, Curtis and Benjamin. When Ben was 8 years old, Sonya and her husband parted company when she learned that her husband had never divorced his first wife. She and her two boys moved to Boston to be with Sonya's older sister.  Sonya's sister was a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church and Sonya and her sons were soon members of the same faith. 

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Curtis and Benjamin as children

Sonya did not have a happy time in Boston and suffered from depression while still managing to hold down two jobs as a domestic cleaner. Two years after she had moved to Boston, she returned to Detroit.

In a story related by Ben Carson in his 1996 book Gifted Hands and in different interviews, Ben said that was his mother who was how he and his brother made progress in school. Sonya taught her sons that it was in their power to change their situation in life, both academically and financially. As they were both struggling to keep up with their fellow students, Ben wrote :

" My mother understood how success was achieved in our society,” If anyone had a reason to make excuses, it was her, but she refused to be a victim and would not permit us to develop the victim mentality either.”

 

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According to Carson, his mother came up with a plan for her sons to watch less TV. They would be required to read two books a week instead of watching television. They would then have to write two book reports and hand them to their mother to be scrutinised. It was only years later that the boys learned that the checkmarks and highlights she marked on their reports were actually a clever trick. His mother was illiterate and could not read their submitted reports! 

This early reading created an interest in learning that he had previously not had. As a result of his mother's encouragement and his own determination, he won a scholarship to Yale University, where he earned a degree in psychology. While at Yale, he met his wife Candy and the couple married and had 3 children. By 1977, he had graduated from the University of Michigan with a medical degree and went on to John Hopkins University to complete his residency in neurosurgery.

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Ben Carson with his mother and his wife 

His work took him to Western Australia and then on to being appointed, in 1984, as director of pediatric neurosurgery at John Hopkins. He was just 33 years old. His work with the separation of conjoined twins is legendary. 

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When I see images of Dr Carson, I see a gentleness in his eyes, a kindness. The eyes never lie. 

Carson has repeatedly shared how his mother was an important figure in his life.

“She always had faith in us, and she never accepted excuses. Her life maxim was, ‘Learn to do your best, and God will do the rest.’”

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His interest in politics was growing and he retired in 2013 to focus on his writing and political aspirations. He was well known for his conservative views on same-sex marriage, abortion and homosexuality. 

As was said in the previous article, Dr Ben Carson is the man that black America or white America or America, in general, can look up to and respect. He is a man who exemplifies everything that is decent and honest and sincere.

He is a man of character and enormous resolve. In fact, he is a man for the world to seek solace from and inspiration from in times of great despair and pain. 

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His mother, Sonya Carson, was a woman of character and great resolve. In fact, she was a woman for the world to seek solace from and inspiration from in times of great despair and pain. 

She suffered from depression, poverty and a lack of education. She was a solo parent and a black woman. In terms of ticking boxes on the disadvantaged list, Sonya Carson would score highly. Yet she did not allow her challenges to defeat her. Her faith in God, her faith in herself as a mother and as human being saw her rise above falling into the trap of victimhood. 

My admiration for her son is immense. My admiration for her is something on a higher plane.

When I read of people like her and others who have triumphed against all odds, I wish that some of the activists today could walk a week in her shoes. 

They ought to be ashamed of themselves. Here was a woman who they could look up to and say " if she can do it, so can I. " Instead they wallow in self pity, self hatred and the loathing of anyone who has ridden out the storm and triumphed over overwhelming odds.

Instead of tearing down statues, looting shops and attacking and stabbing each other, maybe they need to take a good long hard look at themselves and their victimhood as an excuse and not a reason for their failure to achieve anything of worth in their miserable lives.

The love of a mother for her children and her children for their mother is the stuff that makes our world go around. 

Maybe that is a good place to start fixing the problems we face today? 

 

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 By the way, Curtis Carson, Ben's older brother, is an aeronautical engineer. Not bad for Sonya to be the mother of these two fine men. 

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