Dr. Ben Carson was a relatively unknown man before his famous speech on February 7, 2013 at the National Prayer Breakfast. His words and story were so inspirational that he became an international icon within days. Our children need to be exposed to the words and stories of men like Dr. Carson. You can even hear him in person at Great Homeschool Conventions in Ohio and South Carolina! Read on for 12 things we can learn from Dr. Carson, just from his National Prayer Breakfast alone.
1. Dr. Carson started off with the Word of God.
From speeches, to our everyday lives, everything should always start off with the Word of God.
2. Dr. Carson was very worried about offending people throughout this speech.
Not that he should have been worried whether or not he actually offended people, as it is true, you literally cannot have a conversation with handful of people at a time and not offend someone in the group. But he was correct in assuming that he would most definitely offend people. God’s Word offends people. Anti-public school discussions offend people. Republican ideals offend people. His words were so bold and enterprising and we are, unfortunately, not blessed to hear talk like that very often in our media anymore.
3. Dr. Carson said we must speak up for what we believe.
Amen, sir. Do not timidly hide in the shadows, fearful of bearing your faith or your ideals.
4. Dr. Carson said that when you educate a man, you liberate a man.
There is an old proverb (that a lot of people incorrectly believe is in the Bible) that states if you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime. Teach that man to provide for himself and to find his own answers and resources, and you release him to become the man God created him to be. The same can be said for education. Education can liberate a person from their past, from stereotypes, and from their own self-judgments. Thomas Jefferson believed it was important that all children learn history because “apprising them of the past will enable them to judge of the future.”
5. Dr. Carson shows that school does not make you or break you.
In his speech, Dr. Carson stated, “Most of my classmates thought I was the stupidest person in the world. They called me dummy. I was the butt of all the jokes.” He was bullied as a kid, just like roughly 25% of kids today. Now he can shout Look at Me Now! Sadly, most kids who are bullied cannot see past high school. This is one of the reasons why the teenage suicide rate is so high. High school is life to these kids and they are not able to view themselves in any way other than the way their peers view them. Dr. Carson is one example of a bullied kid who rose above what others thought of him.
6. Dr. Carson doesn’t accept or give excuses.
While relating a story about his mother, Dr. Carson stated, ”If you don’t accept excuse, pretty soon people stop giving them, and they start looking for solutions. And that is a critical issue when it comes to success.” His mother believed in his abilities so much that she refused to allow him to take the easy road. Sonya Carson is a mom that we should all look up to. We should always encourage our kids to live up to their potential and never allow them to accept less from themselves.
7. Dr. Carson believes that reading is crucial.
Books are a blessing. Books are more than just words on a page. During his speech, he recounted, “Between the covers of those books I could go anywhere, I could be anybody, I could do anything. I began to read about people of great accomplishment, and as I read those stories, I began to see a connecting thread. I began to see that the person who has the most to do with you and what happens to you in life is you. You make decisions. You decide how much energy you want to put behind that decision.” From great men and women, fictional and historical, he learned that he could control his own destiny and that he was not destined for poverty.
8. Dr. Carson explained one big, huge problem with our country today: lawyers.
Think about it…most politicians start out as lawyers and as Dr. Carson so boldly put it, “What do lawyers learn in law school? To win, by hook or by crook. You gotta win, so you got all these Democrat lawyers, and you got all these Republican lawyers and their sides want to win.” Instead of solving problems, most lawyers just want to win. Dr. Carson was right when he said we need more doctors, more scientists, and more engineers running our country. We need more regular Mary Millers and John Smiths. Teachers and farmers and historians.
9. Dr. Carson doesn’t like whiners.
Another brilliant quote: “I don’t like to bring up problems without coming up with solutions.” This used to be me when I first met my husband when we were 19… whine, whine, complain, complain. He didn’t like me at first. I do not blame him. I’ve changed a lot. He really likes me now. Like Dr. Carson, I’ve now come to realize that there is no sense in complaining about something that is unfixable. You’ll drive yourself, and everyone around you, crazy by complaining about things that are out of your control. And it takes a lot of common sense to fully understand what is out of your control and what is actually within your control. You should always try your best to find a solution to a problem first, before giving up.
10. Dr. Carson understands and cares about geeks.
Hey people, being called a geek is a compliment! I love geeks. Now that I am a grown-up, my favorite people in the world are geeks. I feel more at home at a ComicCon than anywhere else in the world…well except home. My favorite Pinterest board is my group board called Geek Moms. Being a geek means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. Dr. Carson understands how difficult it is for nerdy or geeky kids in school and he rewards them for being who they are.
We went to these schools and we’d see all these trophies: State Basketball, State Wrestling, this, that and the other. The Quarterback was the Big Man on Campus. What about the intellectual Superstar? What did they get? A National Honor Society pin? A pat on the head, there, there little Nerd? Nobody cared about them. And is it any wonder that sometimes the smart kids try to hide? They don’t want anybody to know they are smart? We would give them money. The money would go into a Trust. They would get interest on it. When they would go to college they would get the money, but also the school gets a trophy, every bit as impressive as a sports trophy – right out there with the others. They get a medal. They get to go t0 a banquet. We try to put them on a pedestal as impressive as we do the All-State athletes. But, but – what will maintain our position in the world? The ability to shoot a 25 foot jump shot or the ability to solve a quadratic equation? We need to put the things into proper perspective.
11. Dr. Carson believes that rewards will lead to good habits.
In addition to the programs to reward students for academic achievement, they’ve also put in Reading Rooms across America. Dr. Carson describes them as fascinating places that no little kid could possibly pass up. The kids get points for the amount of time they spend reading. Like any reading reward program, those points can be traded in for prizes. Many parents and teachers are actually against practices like this, because they see the program as bribing a child for something that they should be doing as part of school. I see it the same way Dr. Carson sees it, that yes in the beginning they probably do complete the reading for the prizes, but it does not take long before they are a full fledged lover of reading. Especially if they are given quality books to read.
12. Last, but certainly not least, Dr. Carson’s role model is Jesus.
I’ll leave you with this remarkable quote from Dr. Carson.
My role, you know, model was Jesus. He used parables to help people understand things. When I pick up my Bible, you know what I see? I see the fairest individual in the Universe, God, and he’s given us a system. It’s called tithe. Now we don’t necessarily have to do it 10% but it’s principle. He didn’t say, if your crops fail, don’t give me any tithes. He didn’t say, if you have a bumper crop, give me triple tithes. So there must be something inherently fair about proportionality. You make $10 Billion dollars you put in a Billion. You make $10 you put in $1 – of course, you gotta get rid of the loopholes, but now now some people say, that’s not fair because it doesn’t hurt the guy who made $10 Billion dollars as much as the guy who made $10. Where does it say you have to hurt the guy. He’s just put in a billion in the pot. We don’t need to hurt him.
Watch the full speech below:
Please visit A Spotlight on Dr. Carson for 25 more posts that delve into why Ben Carson is someone you need to know.