Also known as Don (Father) Bosco, this extraordinary educator is as relevant today as ever.
On January 31, we celebrate St. John Bosco. An extraordinary educator, this Italian priest founded the Salesian Order and created an educational system that has lost nothing of its pertinence today.
John Bosco was born in the vicinity of Turin in 1815. He lost his father at the age of two and was lovingly raised by his mother. In order to continue his education, he had practiced numerous small trades. Having become a priest, he developed a network for young apprentices arriving from the countryside and proposed training for the unemployed in the streets of Turin. Later, he opened a series of boarding schools (where he received the future St. Dominic Savio). The Salesian Society was inaugurated in 1854 to continue his work. At his death in 1888, Don Bosco’s work spread beyond the borders of Italy. Still today, his teaching method remains relevant and can be helpful to parents and educators.
Here are five key elements to retain from this teaching method.
1Transform children into “honest citizens and good Christians”
Don Bosco’s teaching method includes all aspects that make up a person – intellect, technology, sports, expression, affection, and religion. Don Bosco wished “to create honest citizens and good Christians.”
2Boost self-confidence and trust in others
An education on how to be successful includes: teaching children how to be confident, highlighting success and in case of failure, encouraging the ability to overcome it. The goal is to provide self-confidence and trust in others: “There is no confidence without affection, without confidence, there is no education,” affirmed John Bosco.
3Let children know they are loved
It is an education of love that accepts young people as they are, and desires that they thrive and manifests true affection.
4Never forget fun and games
Among many other things, games develop the sense of reality, respect for rules, and socialization. “Let us provide ample liberty to jump, run and cry with joy. Gym, music, drama, excursions improve both physical and mental health,” said Don Bosco.
5And above all teach about grace
One must encourage children to live in grace as a path to saintliness. A good education is first of all a fruit of God’s love.