Why Ben Carson is a Great Role Model for our Kids

In many ways, the childhood of Dr. Ben Carson may not be very different from the lives of the students that we serve here at Summit. Growing up in poverty in the inner-city of Detroit, young Ben and his brother Curtis were at one point at the bottom of their classes in school, until their mother, Sonya, who was raising the boys single-handedly, decided to turn the lives of her sons around.

Though Sonya herself had only a third grade education, she limited the boys' television watching and refused to let them play outside until they had finished their homework for the day. She also required them to read two library books each week and give her written reports on their reading.

Both Ben and Curtis started improving dramatically from that day forward, and the rest is history: Dr. Ben Carson went on to attend Yale University and the Medical School of the University of Michigan before beginning his career at the world-renowned Johns Hopkins Medical School.

Like Dr. Carson, reading has helped to transform the lives of the students at Summit and encouraged them to strive for more. More than a few of our students have acknowledged that they used to think that reading was boring, but with the motivation provided by Summit and the summer Read-A-Thon program, they have gone on to really enjoy it! According to Alondra, a senior at Ronald Reagan High School, "the Read-A-Thon at Summit really challenged me to start reading more, and I started loving it! It's helped me to grow my vocabulary and write better for my classes in school too!"

Beyond promoting reading and education, Dr. Carson's THINK BIG acronym from his memoir, Gifted Hands, illustrates that success is more than just acquiring knowledge: it's about developing the entire character of the person. The acronym stands for:

Talent: Our Creator has endowed all of us not just with the ability to sing, dance or throw a ball, but with intellectual talent. Start getting in touch with that part of you that is intellectual and develop that, and think of careers that will allow you to use that.

Honesty: If you lead a clean and honest life, you don't put skeletons in the closet. If you put skeletons in the closet, they definitely will come back just when you don't want to see them and ruin your life.

Insight: It comes from people who have already gone where you're trying to go. Learn from their triumphs and their mistakes.

Nice: If you're nice to people, then once they get over the suspicion of why you're being nice, they will be nice to you.

Knowledge: It makes you into a more valuable person. The more knowledge you have, the more people need you. It's an interesting phenomenon, but when people need you, they pay you, so you'll be okay in life.

Books: They are the mechanism for obtaining knowledge, as opposed to television.

In-Depth Learning: Learn for the sake of knowledge and understanding, rather than for the sake of impressing people or taking a test.

God: Never get too big for Him.

Nicole Heger