#Article (Archive)

Title: Gifted Hands

Aug 29, 2008, 7:17 AM | Article By: Ben Carson

Publishers: Zondervan Year of Publication: 1990

Paperback; 224 pages

The Ben Carson story is a classic illustration of grass to grace. Bennie was born poor, but he refused to stay poor, due largely to his mother's influence. Barely eight years old, his father walked out on his mother, leaving her to shoulder the responsibility of raising two boys - Bennie and his elder brother Curtis. Rather than gave in to despair, Sonya Carson rose admirably to the challenge. She took up menial jobs to take care of her boys. Because she worked mainly in the homes of wealthy people, she was able to observe what made them tick. And she then resolved to inculcate those habits of high achievers in her two boys. She laid down the rules: One, no watching of more than three TV programmes a week. Two, reading at least three books a week. Bennie and Curtis protested, but the indomitable Sonya held her ground, making it clear to the boys that their either followed the rules or there would be hell to pay. Both boys had no choice in the matter and therefore complied. This turned out to be the formula for Bennie's incredible success in life. He went from Yale to the University of Michigan's Medical School. And then worked at the world-famous Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, where he became a professor and director of the pediatric neurosurgery. Naturally, he went through all the phases a teenager goes through in life. At a point in his life, he lost interest in his studies and craved for social acceptance by his peers. At this point in his life, he rebelled against his mother's wishes, insisting that she had to buy him special clothes to be among the in-crowd. Also significant is his struggle to overcome his volatile and vile temper that threatened to ruin his life. After a disagreement with a mend, he lost his cool and stabbed him but the buckle of the mend's belt prevented penetration. He felt so bad that he prayed to God to help him deal with his temper. After that, Bennie went back to straight and narrow path, studying even harder than before in order to make his mother proud of him. His turn around paid off in the sense that he became a high achiever who was hotly demanded by hospitals around the world. Just at the youthful age of 33, he was appointed director of the pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, a feat almost unheard-of for an African American at the time. Throughout the narrative, the reader gets the impression that Bennie is a go-getter, not one to settle for a mediocre way of doing things. He seems to have inherited this drive for excellence from his mother whom he described as "the classic Type A personality - hardworking, goal-oriented, driven to demanding the best of herself in any situation, refusing to settle for less". It is no surprise that the book is dedicated to his beloved mother thus: "This book is dedicated to my mother SONY A CARSON, who basically sacrificed her life to make certain that my brother and I got a head start''

AmongBennie's many feats as a neurosurgeon is the separation of the Binder Siamese twins, which made him a householdname around the world and an inspiration to people from disadvantaged background thatif they apply themselves, they too can be just as successful, if not more successful. This book is an inspiration for everybody and anybody who want to have a better life for themselves. "To THINK BIG and to use our talents doesn't mean we won't have difficulties along the way. We will- we all do. How we view those problems determines how we end up. Ifwe choose to see the obstacles in our path as barriers, we stop trying.. . However if we choose to see the obstacles as hurdles, we can leap over them. Successful people don't have fewer problems. They have determined that nothing will stop them from going forward. Whatever direction we choose, if we can realize that every hurdle we jump strengthens and prepares us for the next one, we're already on the way to success." (p.224)

This book is available at TIMBOOKTOO, tel- 4494345.