Oct 17, 2009

Blog/Video: St. John Bosco on Education / Parenting : Make it fun.

St. John Bosco's preventive system is described as a pedagogy from heaven because it first came to him on a vision.
John saw himself playing with a crowd of neighborhood boys; many of them were fighting and swearing. He told them to stop, then leapt in with both fists when they did not. Suddenly a stranger, a noble and radiant gentleman, appeared. He told John that he needed to use kindness, not blows, to win over these children. John did not understand. The man said he would give him a teacher, and a majestic Lady showed up. She instructed John to watch, and the boys turned into wild animals—bears, goats, dogs, cats, etc. “This,” she told him, “is your field of work. Make yourself humble, strong, and energetic, so that you’ll be able to do for my children what you’ll see now.” And the beasts turned into gentle lambs. In his confusion, John began to cry. The Lady assured him that in due time he would understand. And he woke up.  (http://www.bosconet.aust.com/DBD.html#d0e17 )

Both preventive and repressive systems involve making expectations and consequences known.  In the preventive system, the educator assists the kids to succeed like a friend keeping his buddies away from trouble.  In the repressive system, the educator enforces the rules and administers punishments on violations just like a cop.  The preventive system takes time, effort and self-sacrifice.  One needs to hang out with the kids and have something fun for them.  The repressive system is easy ;  one comes in only as needed usually to assert authority over the little people.  In return, the preventive system works;  it makes the kids better by changing them from the inside.  The repressive system can give compliance just like those of prisoners but it does not educate.  How many times have you met kids who are just waiting to turn 18 so that they can leave their "oppressive" homes.  However, punishments are unavoidable because lines will be crossed.  According to St. John Bosco, "Punishment is anything intended to become punishment."  So, a cold shoulder from St. John Bosco has the same effect as a slap because the kids love him.  What makes it work is love.  Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down and a spoonful of honey catches more flies than a gallon of vinegar.  Also, no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.

Here's an illustration of how one can make change fun.

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