Screen Shot 2015-07-18 at 3.37.41 pmI have just read a book this week about a famous Neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson. The book was written for children so they could be encouraged to believe in their potential. In the book, Dr. Carson reveals his truth about how he went through some very challenging times as a child. It was through his mother and her belief in him and his brother that provided them both with the foundation they needed to rise and achieve in life.

As a child, Dr. Carson was known as the ‘class dummy’. He was bullied by his peers and most people in his world. Except his mother, most in his world didn’t think he would amount to anything in life. Dr. Carson’s family were penniless African Americans. His mum was a single mother with two small boys whom she believed in and was determined they would both be educated and rise out of the poverty they were living.

Dr. Carson’s mother encouraged her boys never to give up, to work hard and to do their best always. She also challenged them to reach higher and not only grab but live their dreams. The story of their lives is fascinating. I am a sucker for true stories of people who overcome the odds and push forward to reach their full potential. This story did not disappoint.

Through hard work, determination and faith in the dream that Dr. Carson had, as a young boy, he became one of the world’s greatest Pediatric Neurosurgeons. The obstacles he overcame were seemingly insurmountable. He fought against the odds while growing up in Detroit and through this, developed the strength he needed to save the lives of precious children who would have otherwise died.

Dr. Carson and his wife are now in retirement yet they continue to love and support children through the creation of the ‘Carson Scholars Fund‘. This fund helps children reach their full potential. Children who may not otherwise be able to afford to finish their studies.

As I read the book, I found myself reflecting on my life. I didn’t live in poverty, my parents were hard working successful business owners, however just like Dr. Carson, most people didn’t think I would amount to much in life either. I struggled at school because unbeknown to me or anyone else; I was Dyslexic. Sadly, School was a place I hated. The only pleasure I enjoyed was all the friends I had and the delight I had in making life as difficult as I could for my teachers.

When school is designed for those who can read well, and you can’t, it becomes very easy to lose your confidence and question your value and worth. Like Dr. Carson, thankfully I had a mother and father who believed in me and my potential. Through this belief I always knew, deep down, that I was valuable. It was only those who didn’t really know me that doubted my worth.

Through the years, I was known as the school trouble maker in Primary and High School. I learned very early in life that the best way to get out of being put in an embarrassing situation in the classroom was to be the class clown. This strategy worked, all the kids loved it, and it meant freedom for me. Some saw going to the Principles Office as scary, I found it as freedom. I knew my worth, and I wasn’t scared of her. Rather, I knew how far to push to be thrown out of class without being thrown out of school, as much as it was threatened a few times.

On multiple occasions, my mother was told, by the Principal, that I wouldn’t amount to anything. Of this, she (the Principal) also made sure I was reminded of. Whilst I always received discipline from my mother when I chose to do the wrong thing, I always knew she totally believed in me. My mother, who was full of confidence, would tell the Principle, that I would achieve in life. She reminded her that and that once I learned how to channel my energies and gifts in the right direction it would all fall into place.

My mother’s pride in me and love for me was unconditional just like Dr. Carson’s mother. I can assure you that as a child, this knowing will breath life and success into any heart and mind, no matter what comes against them in life.

My childhood experience is one of the main reasons we love exposing children to a reading program as early as possible in our Little Miracles Centres. I truly understand the power of learning and reading, and if we help even just one child read easier, I am a euphoric lady. However, we know that it’s more than one that are being blessed by our reading program. We have seen hundreds of children enter school with confidence that delights the heart. In our classrooms, it’s such a joy to see the excitement on the faces of the children as they engage in the games and songs that set them up for success in reading.

Like me, our children, are also Dyslexic. Fortunately, Rob and I discovered it when they were young. With early detection, we were able to get them the help they needed to succeed. It was through this journey and their experience that I discovered why I hated reading so much, through this my diagnosis was finally reached.

It’s funny that out of my negative experience coupled with being a mother who has guided her children through the journey of overcoming a reading difficulty, this has come a passion to help all children enjoy reading. Whether they struggle or not.

At Little Miracles we not only have an incredible reading program, we also take teams of Educators overseas to help underprivileged children learn how to read and comprehend English. We work in Rwanda, Bali, Indonesia and India; through something as simple as reading we believe this can set them free from poverty and help them reach their full potential. Just like our precious children in our Centres in Australia.

Parents, I encourage you always to believe in your children and never let anyone tell you they will amount to nothing. We are ALL extremely valuable, and we are ALL made in the image of God. We ALL have so much to bring to this world.

Something I learned from the story of, Dr. Ben Carson and the greatest tool he used to go from ‘school dummy’ to a brilliant Pediatric Neurosurgeon was reading. He would read and read and read to expand his knowledge. I too love reading and over the last thirty years, or so I have grown as a person from reading. The written word is so valuable and empowering.

I would love to suggest that you read his book to your children and talk it through with them. Through the words you will read, there are great lessons we, as parents, will learn. Additionally, there are lessons your children will learn. Most importantly, we will all walk away enriched and believing in our dreams and motivated to work hard to achieve them. The book is the titled ” Gifted Hands” by Lewis and Lewis.

Be blessed,
Susanna