St. John Bosco, Mystic, Confessor, and Founder of the Salesian Family is a beacon star on education. His Preventive System, a unique and masterly way to effectively address the complex educational mission, has become an example and model to entire generations of educators striving to bring youth to a successful and secure path of spiritual, moral and cultural development and happiness.
The Preventive System prevents… what?
St John Bosco’s preventive system precisely addresses the correction of forms of evil, such as moral vices and defects that damage the correct and healthy development of the intelligence, the will, and the supernatural life, keeping in mind that joy is the most proper atmosphere for education.
Kindness, Reason, and Religion
Don Bosco’s Preventive system relies on three fundamental principles: Kindness, Reason, and Religion.
Kindness means a fundamental respect for the youngsters by which they feel they are loved. On St. John Bosco’s own words, “the primary happiness of a child consists in knowing that they are loved. The young must not only be loved, but they must know they are loved. In every young person, even the most difficult, there is a vulnerable spot for good. The first duty of an educator is to find it. Love must always be the mainspring of the heart.”
Reason consists essentially in disposing the students to obey not from fear or compulsion, but from persuasion. The rules for a good and orderly behavior must be reasonable and simple; useful for living happy and holy lives; yet, most importantly, rules need to be clear, explained patiently and exemplified in practical and engaging ways.
Religion addresses the spiritual development of the students. As the human nature is essentially religious, prayer, devotions and the frequent reception of the Sacraments are fundamental tools to be used in education, contributing to the formation of the heart, of the sense of duty and responsibility, the strengthening of the will and of a solid moral character.
Education, a matter of the Heart
No better quote to conclude this blog post than quoting once again St John Bosco’s warm and crystal clear concepts: “Remember that education is a matter of the heart, of which God is the sole master, and we will be unable to achieve anything unless God teaches us, and puts the key in our hands. Let us strive to make ourselves loved, and we will see the doors of many hearts open with great ease, and join with us in singing praises and blessing of Him who wished to make himself our model, our way, our example in everything, but especially in the education of the young…”
by Br. Gustavo Kralj, EP