May 31, 2010

St. John Bosco's Goodnight Talk

St. John Bosco housed homeless boys. Before going to bed, he gave them a "goodnight talk" right after night prayers.  This drew from an event during the day and concluded with a moral lesson. It is short and entertaining - drawing from the lives of the saints or from his visions.  After that, there is the "great silence" as the boys keep a prayerful ambiance of recollection.

I do the same with my kids ages 10,8,7 & 2.  We say our night prayers together consisting of an Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory Be following by an examination of conscience then an Act of Contrition.  After that, I give the talk.  I used Aesop's fables e.g. the ant and the grasshopper, Gospel stories e.g. the man who built his house on rock and the other on sand, events e.g. the dog getting groomed and then draw a simple moral lesson.  This allows me to explain to the kids the rationale for my policies and help them understand our sacrifices for them.  (As St. John Bosco taught, "It is not enough to love the young.  They must know that they are loved.)  More importantly, they learn how to put faith into action or live as a follower of Jesus.

By and large, this works as the kids remember the lessons, the rules and the love.

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