The formula ‘ reason, religion and loving kindness’, which summaries Don Bosco’s system, is understood as the fundamental inspiration of an educational project for the all-round development of the person. It aims to provide a full answer to the question of the evangelisation of youth. Educative love, in Don Bosco’s method, is divided into three attitudes; love and friendliness, love and reasonableness, love and faith. The preventive System becomes a formative and educative project, a set of elements that together make up a single approach based on loving kindness, reason and religion.
The implementation of Don Bosco’s Pastoral, Spiritual and Pedagogical programme works wonders in the life of Salesian Educators. TIt is a successful system which serves as a model and inspirations for us his followers. It is a model that continues to inspire and make us to reflect that young people are the centre and protagonists of our Educational Mission. The young are the reason of our being as Sons and Daughters of Don Bosco. They are the very reason of our Educative Mission.
The Preventive System of Don Bosco has magical powers in the hands of Salesian Educators and a charming strength in the life of the Pupils. I say this because when we it is put into proper practice it works miracles in the lives of the Educators and the Educants.
Let me share two of my experiences in dealing with the young people as an FMA Salesian Educator.
1. Jeren (Fictitious name) a student of class X was a tough young man to deal with, all the teachers had given up hope of helping this young man to change his ways. He would absent himself from the class at least four days a week. He was very weak in studies, disobedient and was into all kinds of bad habits like drinking and smoking. Every time he came to class, the teachers would sent him to my office. I tried my best to help him out, but to no avail. I thought to myself, what Don Bosco would do in this case? The answer within me seemed to say, “pray for the student.” I started praying for this boy and with the preventive system of Don Bosco at the helm, I began to look at Jeren with the eyes of faith, I envision his changed. He began to be a different person.
As usual Jeren after absenting himself for a long time came to my office with a chit from the teacher, this time I took him to the parlour and tried to talk to him not as a teacher, but as a friend, using reason, loving kindness and religion. To my surprise the boy slowly began to opened himself up and began to share his inner feelings with much soreness. I was ashamed of myself for failing to understand the problems of youth and to take into consideration the integral development of the person. He was from a family where he did not experience love, he felt he was neglected by his parents, laughed at by his friends and ignored by teachers. My application of Don Bosco’s Pastoral, Spiritual and Padagogical programme worked. Of course it took good amount of time and energy to help him out. Jesren, began to change. Heimproved in his studies, started to participate in all the activities of the school with great interest and completed his matriculation successfully. Now he is a an officer in the army doing very well in life.
2. Maren (Fictitious name), a very pretty and talented young girl was going through hard times in her school days. She was a student of class 9 when I met her. Her parents and teachers itemised that she was always up to do some mischief. No amount of punishment would help her change. She was indeed a pain on the neck of her teachers and parents. Naturally, her peers avoided to be her friends in class.
I volunteered to help this young girl and tried all the ways possible to assist her. But, she did not respond for a long time, however with reasoning and expressing loving kindness, I continued to accompany her with much patience in her self-struggle. Finally, it did work as I won her over. She was transformed, excelling in her studies. Today she is a competent lecturer in a college.
She told me that she chose teaching as her profession in life, since she could help many young students like herself, who for want of love, acceptance and understanding may wreck their lives. She also applies the Salesian methodology in her teaching profession while dealing with young people. She also says that she chose teaching as her profession, to pay her tribute to the Salesian Sisters without whose assistance she would never become what she is today.
Sr. Lolia Annie FMA, Rome