The Person: Top Priority
Making investments is the strategy of one who is aware of possessing values that can increase and spread in an exponential way. We, who have the entrustment of an educational charism, invest
energy, time, and resources in a precise direction: young people. It does not matter if we are always among them or if we dedicate ourselves to other services, or if we are not able to be on the playground, in a classroom or in a youth group. As Salesian educators we invest our very existence in the young people. We do everything to “make them happy in time and in eternity”, as Don Bosco taught us.
We believe in the young people; we take a chance on them. We do not consider them a social category to be analyzed so that they may be classified into categories or to multiply debates. That might be useful. We commit ourselves, certainly to get to know the young people and to understand them in their expressions and in their context. But we consider the young man or woman especially as a person, because we hold that there are many important things in life, but the person is the by one continues top fascinate us and to mark our educational commitment. It is enough for us that “they are young” for us to love them and to stand at their side.
From Don Bosco and Mary Domenica Mazzarello we have learned the symbolic language that speaks of our way of being close to and with the young people. We speak of gardeners to indicate this special care, to express the competence, the wisdom, the attentive glance for their growth and their future. And as a navigator, because frequently the young people give importance more to the journey than the experience itself and our task, therefore, is especially that of “teaching how to navigate, furnishing maps for the guidance of self in the choice of a route.”
The art of accompaniment sums up the two images. This is the fundamental responsibility of each and every Salesian educator. Today more than in other times. The attitude that allows us to make a sure investment is that of placing ourselves at the side of the young person with great trust and a great capacity for expectation and patience. Each young person has a unique value to which we may say: You are worth much. I appreciate you for what you are, for the gifts you have in self, for your qualities and talents and even for those that you do not have, but for that which you can become, gradually as you discover God’s plan for you and you taste the certainty of being precious, loved and cared for.
Frère Roger wrote: “On certain summer evenings at Taizé, under a star strewn heaven, from our open windows we can hear the young people. They seek; they pray. And we say: Their aspirations for peace and trust are like these stars, little lights in the night. For this reason, in my view, I would go to the ends of the earth, if I could, to speak once again of my trust in the younger generations”.
As Salesian educators we can do nothing else but subscribe to this.