BY: GLORIA MUGENYI
Keeping children on the right path to achieve their dreams can be a challenging one, but worry not parents, Karl Subban, a former Toronto district school board principle, hockey dad and now new author is here to give you some tips on how to make your dreams a reality.
At an event organized by Devon Jones, director of the Youth Association for Academics, Athletics and Character Education (Y.A.A.A.C.E) at C.W. Jeffries Collegiate Institute in Toronto on Dec. 2nd, Subban gave an inspiring speech to the attendees on how to make their dreams come true.
The event slated to start at 2 p.m. was themed “unlocking the potential in youth.” Subban described potential as a person’s gift, starting with engagement. He explained it as “the ability to change someone’s mind.”
Subban said that potential is the lens you should see yourself or children in.
“Potential gives you the ability and power to become something in the future and we’re all born with it,” said Subban
Subban spoke about leadership and the ABC’S, which stand for (achieve, barriers, and engaging the community). He encouraged schools and families to help each other overcome the barriers. He called on parents and children to do more explaining to families that parenting wasn’t meant to be easy.
“Karl Subban isn’t perfect, there’s been times where I disagreed with my children and we didn’t speak,” During his speech, he encouraged everyone to close their eyes and envision a ‘three-legged stool,’ each leg stood for something ‘Dream, Belief, and Action.’ “Potential starts with a dream, you have to know your why, in order to start; then comes belief, never ever doubt your potential, which is also called a suitcase with your abilities,” said Subban.
The last leg of the stool stands for action. Action involves what Subban called the four T’s; (Time, Task, Training and Team). He explained that whatever your dream is, you need time to do your tasks; tasks equal to the training you have to do to achieve those dreams and then team, which is the support system around you.
Subban encouraged children and parents to pay the price by putting the four T’s in use. “No one gets better overnight, you need to put in the time,” said Subban.
Subban wants to inspire more parents and children. “In my life as an educator, coach, and teacher, I have left footprints behind.”
Subban told parents that how they see their children is how those children see themselves. He called on parents to motivate their kids, show them kindness, love, and emotional support.
When asked about race and how it might affect one’s success, he had this to say,
“I didn’t want race to be the reason we didn’t achieve or succeed; I’m not gonna use race as an excuse.” Just like Martin Luther King said, “you have to find a way to move forward.” Lastly, Subban encouraged children to read every day, saying that reading would help improve the way they speak, write and it would open up their minds.
The event was also attended by a few other big names; former Toronto Argonauts legend Michael “Pinball” Clemons, TDSB trustee Tiffany Ford and Minister of Children and Youth Services Michael Coteau, all came out to and interacted with families before and after the event.
There were lots of praises for Devon Jones who made the event possible, Subban took a moment out to recognize the work Devon Jones; the director of YAAACE is doing for the community.
“Devon Jones is helping change and raise children, he’s helping them see the way,” said Subban.
Michael “Pinball” Clemons whose foundation partnered with YAAACE to launch a year-round program called ‘Baby Jays’ for under-resourced or at-risk children and youth also praised Devon Jones, calling him the “real hero and engine who’s making a tangible difference and being productive in the community.”
Subban took time out after the event to sign copies of his newly released book titled “How We Did It: The Subban Plan For Success In Hockey, School And Life,” for parents and got to talk one on one with some of them; answering some lingering questions as well as just getting to know them.
Subban, a father of five has witnessed his five children find success in their respective fields; with three of them finding that success in the hockey world after being drafted by three National Hockey League (NHL) teams; P.K. Subban was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens and now plays for the Nashville Predators. Malcolm Subban was drafted by the Boston Bruins and now plays for the Las Vegas Golden Knights; his son Jordan Subban was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks. Subban has worked for over thirty years as a schoolteacher and administrator with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). Subban’s family immigrated to Canada from Jamaica in 1970 and settled in Sudbury, Ontario. Subban credits hockey for helping him adapt to his new home.
According to their vision statement, YAAACE is “is a community organization that seeks to engage children and youth from all communities – particularly those from marginalized and poor under-resourced communities through participation in year-round comprehensive programming and activities (academics, athletics, recreation, technology and the arts).”