Today is the commemoration of St. John Bosco Father and Teacher of the Young
He was a noted teacher of the faith and was a teacher who decried violence in the classroom. Here is what he wrote in a letter not long before his death.
Young people often need convincing that we have confidence in their ability to improve, and feel there is a kindly hand to help them. You can get more with a friendly look, with a word of encouragement that gives his heart new courage, than you can with repeated blame, which serves only to upset, and weaken enthusiasm. Using this system, I have seen real conversions among those one would otherwise have believed impossible. All youngsters have their off-days – you have had them yourselves! Heaven help us if we do not try to help them to get through them without trouble. Sometimes simply having them understand you do not think they acted from malice is enough to ensure they do not fall again into the same fault.
In his first position as an assistant at an orphanage he insisted that his Sunday-school boys be allowed to play on the orphanage grounds, they were turned away, and he resigned. Bosco felt strongly about children being given the ability to live and have joy. He professed a strong understanding that Jesus brought himself to the level of children and that all educators and leaders should do the same. I should hope that we can all follow Bosco’s example and seek to make the lives of children joyous and alive.
I am pleased that at the parish we have people like Jane and her teachers who give our children the freedom to love and live and have fun in faith. John Bosco would be proud of what we are doing and would encourage us to continue to be present to the young and the young at heart that we might see the Christ is the eyes of the student.
Today we pray for teachers and students everywhere that they may know patience and love in learning. God has given the great gift of knowledge and reason. People like John Bosco reminded us that the art and task of encouraging learning and growing the mind is a great act of love. Let us all seek to love and respect each other. In learning – let us strive to take our knowledge to new heights that we might make the world a better place.