Ato Boldon chats with students at Holy Faith Convent, Couva, during the Guardian in Education motivational session on Tuesday.
Photo: Tony Howell
By Leah Mathura-Dookhoo
Former Olympic track star Ato Boldon is calling on parents to spend more time with their children.
He made the call on Tuesday when he spoke to hundreds of students at Holy Faith Convent in Couva, during the Guardian in Educations Making a Difference schools tour.
The tourwhich also involves artist and cyclist Michael Phillips, Miss Universe 1998 Wendy Fitzwilliam, Olympic bronze medallist George Bovell III and West Indies batsman Brian Larais endorsed by the Ministry of Education, and is sponsored by the National Gas Co, RBTT, British Gas, Guardian Holdings and Yara Trinidad.
It allows the celebrity participants to share their experiences with students throughout the country and inspire them to strive for success.
Boldons comment on Tuesday drew loud applause from the audience. He said parents should manage their time so they could better support their children.
I dont think youths are supported enough. Parents are just too busy and some are not focused on their childrens career.
He noted, however, that some who did, tried to direct their childrens focus towards academics only, rather than towards a non-traditional field.
Boldon also scolded teachers, parents and the society at large for making young people go into depression because of failure.
People fail time and time againthats how we learn, he said.
That is a big problem in Trinidad. When you fail here, people make you feel as though its the end of the world.
When you fail, get yourself back up. Dust it off and try again.
Boldon told the girls, who accommodated 30 students from Couva Government Secondary, that when he decided to choose a career in athletics, he was also greeted with negative remarks from family and friends.
He said even with the constant murmurs at the peak of his career, he tried to keep up academically.
They used to laugh at me. Now they want a loan, the sociology major said.
When they heard I was going into broadcasting, they said I couldnt do it. Now they want to know what time Ill be on TV.
They said the same thing about flying. Now they want to know where were heading to this weekend.
Boldon also said if people were academically-inclined and could not be thankful for it or use it to help others, they were nothing.
He called on female students to respect themselves and try hard to be the best leaders, mothers and wives they could.
Dont let people put limitations on you. When you are a well-rounded person, you rise up and move on. Make the best out of any opportunity you get, he said.