Saturday, 27 January 2018

Building on the existing good

The Parish celebrated the feast of Don Bosco today. During the Mass the parish priest spoke of the life of Don Bosco. When he spoke of Don Bosco first meeting with Barthalomeo Garelli, it struck me that Don Bosco started with what was good in the boys.  The only thing Garelli could do was whistle - Don Bosco is happy with that for the first meeting!  He slowly builds on that rather than straight away infuse in them some of those virtues or qualities that he thinks they ought to have.  The starting point is not the intention of the educator or the formator but the existing good or virtue in the beneficiary.

Seeing this from my perspective as a formator, I was wondering how justified am I in demanding a level of intellectual calibre in the formees.  Whatever and however great and noble my intentions and motivations, if I do not start from what the students are already good at, then I will be riding against the tide all the time.  The student will see himself facing an insurmountable task without seeing the qualities he already has as an investment.  Now that's a challenge for the formator, especially if the number is large and the pupil of diverse backgrounds.  To understand each individual, find out his or her strength and then help them use them as a launching pad, is indeed a tall order.  But if I have a personal rapport with each of them, then helping them in their intellectual struggle will be easy.  On the other hand, judging them on the basis of their intellectual standard alone will be my short coming as a formator.  

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