Monday, 2 May 2011

Salesians in the new 'playgrounds'

While discussing about the whole issue of personal media and the rampant growth of technology and media, an analogy came to my mind which I shared with the group this afternoon. When we were Brothers about to begin our Practical Training, one of the guidelines given to us was how to go about in the playground. We were clearly told, that during games it is our prime duty to ensure that the boys learn and enjoy the game. It is certainly no time or place to dominate the game or show off our skills.

I think there is something similar happening with communication technology and the Salesians today. There are those who shy away from all modern things (those who never reach to the playground itself - that's quite bad in itself, and Don Bosco would certainly not approve of it either). Then there are those who are present in the 'playground' but all the while dominating the game. They use the gadgets and the 'means' available to showcase their own talents and skills. The others in and around the 'playground' are just left to watch you. Unfortunately this mode too is quite idiotic for the following reason: earlier there was only one football and if the Salesian is all the while owning it, the boys can do nothing but watch him. However, if a Salesian does the same in the new 'playground', he will soon find himself all alone since the boys would have created a new 'playground' for themselves elsewhere. Today each one has a 'ball'!

Ultimately what is required of a Salesian with respect to the emerging 'playgrounds'? His meaningful presence, just like before! He may not be the best footballer but all the same he is with the boys, encouraging them, guiding them and making sure that all enjoy and learn the game, especially those who are normally left out by the boys themselves.

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