Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Cynthia Forde is urging parents to nurture and invest in their boys.
Minister Forde was speaking at New Dimensions Ministries for the National Children’s Service in honour of Child Month when she pointed out that girls and boys were socialized extremely differently in Barbadian society and this gap was to the disadvantage of the males growing up.
“In Barbados, we socialize our girls differently, we tell our girls to go and read a book, plait somebody’s hair, go and sew… What we say to our boys, most of the time, is go and fly a kite, go with the fellows down the road and then our boys [have] difficulty in reading and settling well,” the former educator reasoned.
“We are turning out some boys that really need love and attention, the hugs, the kissing, the nice words… [of] how handsome they are, how capable they are to do responsible things. We must do it if we are to save the men in our society,” she continued.
The Minister of People Empowerment was addressing over 25 primary and secondary schools gathered to commemorate the theme for Child Month, Celebrating the Champion in You. During her feature address, Forde also urged the students to “champion” for their dreams and to not give up on their goals because of negative feedback from friends or family.
“Do not ever feel that you will not achieve your goal, you might try and try and try again – Never give up… People will compare you with others, your relatives will do it, your friends, teachers and classmates… do not allow anyone who makes those comparisons deter you from following your dreams,” she urged.
Forde suggested that the students should not let previous academic failures and disappointments stop them from achieving their goals but they should use these experiences as motivation to do better.
“You need to look back, see where you made some errors, some mistakes, how you lost that opportunity and see where you can go back and make up [for it] to be able to achieve the goals that you have in your mind. Do not allow the outcome of those tests that you are doing inhibit you from excelling in your life,” she advised.
“There will always be challenges in life, there will always be setbacks that will daunt your spirit. I want you to stop, reflect and turn whatever stumbling blocks are in your way into stepping stones to help you to reach your goals,” she added.
The Minister of People Empowerment recommended that the students “read more, study harder, ask more questions” and discuss their aspirations as they pursue their dreams.
During her opening remarks, Chairman of the Child Care Board (CCB) Catherine Jordan specifically addressed the educators gathered urging them to be aware of their impact on the lives of children.
“I urge you to talk to them positively, help them to work through whatever their issues are,” Jordan said, adding, “If you change the life of one child you change the world and if we take that individual approach whether we are in the daycare center, the schools or clubs or wherever we are and we seek to change the life of every child, then we change the world.”