BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - What better inspiration; what better role models; what better boost to self–esteem can our students get as they head back to school, than to see the images of Kim Collins, Jason Rogers, Antoine Adams and Brijesh Lawrence on the podium during the award ceremony for the men's 4x100 metres relay at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu September 4, 2011.
What more proof do our students need as they head back to school than to see these young men ‘on top of the world’, that they, too, can achieve the ultimate if they are prepared to work for it?
We are grateful that the vacation has ended on this positive note.
Many children may have been returning with the sounds of the gunshots of their neighbourhood in their heads, or may still be grieving over the untimely loss of a relative.
Teachers must remind our children over and over again that their brains are whole and their minds are magical… that their brains can do anything they want them to do. They need only to find out ‘how’ or ‘what it takes to get it done’.
It is an instrument that is efficient and will function with whatever is being fed into it – this is what will form the student’s world and this is what shapes their attitudes.
Robin Sharma, famous author and leadership consultant, remarked recently: "We are born into genius but then the world around us deGeniuses us."
One of our gang members recently pleaded in the RAG conference, “Don’t tell us, show us”. Our boys in Daegu, Korea at the World Championship games have shown our youth what they can do. They now have proof that “if your mind can conceive it, you can achieve it.”
Our parents and education officials must take it even further as the Native American proverb suggests:
Tell me, and I'll forget
Show me, and I may remember
Involve me, and I'll understand.
Studies now show that it is those persons uninvolved in any purposeful activity that easily become drawn into bad company aka gangs. Those busy with extra-curricular activities and meaningful development of their talents, hardly fall prey to the desire to belong to something else.
They can also learn from Kim Collins that fame does not prevent one from developing a character that is as admirable as one’s physical achievements.
Fazeer Mohammed of the Trinidad Express wrote that “Collins’ class extends not just to his running style but his overall demeanour on and off the track."
Usain Bolt refers to Kim as a “fun person” and remarked that ‘the witty Kittitian had an even bigger personality than his’.
Even chance remarks of Collins are complimentary. Said Tim Layden on Twitter: “In Seoul airport, 2-time bronze medallist Kim Collins recognized me from a mixed zone mosh pit, came over to say hi. Very rare in any sport.”
But Kim Collins goes even further. He passes on his knowledge and skills to those coming behind him, holding clinics to coach them and he has been a source of inspiration to his relay team mates in Daegu, whom he coached himself.
He has his own way of motivating them. In Daegu he told them: "I pretty much told the guys," said Collins, "that I have a record for making finals and medaling, so tonight is no exception. They went out and made the whole of St Kitts & Nevis proud."
Kim Collins , Jason Rogers Antoine Adams and Brijesh Lawrence are noble role models and sources of inspiration for our children as they return to school. These guys have learnt that “much money does not bring success and size does not matter; it is only how you use it” – as Colin Croft summed it up in the Guardian Media
By looking at them, may each of our children decide that they, too, will do something to make the whole of St. Kitts and Nevis proud.