|Don Bosco opted for
loving-kindness, i.e. a special quality of friendliness on the part
of the educator which inspires cooperation and confidence on the
part of the one being educated. He based his education on charity:
the pedagogy of the heart.
The basic traits of his approach are
to be found in a letter he wrote to Salesians from Rome in November
1884. Here are some of them:
- education is a thing of the heart.
- confidence and familiarity are
basic to the system.
- familiar presence is an
- the environment/surroundings
provide for an education as a kind of contagion that goes on
between educator and the one being educated.
- Jesus Christ is the model for this
The real situation that young people
find themselves in today spurs us on to put the Preventive System
into action. A pedagogy of the heart is more than ever needed given
the frequent absence of love.
More than a simple one-to-one
relationship is required. The Preventive System implies a group of
people acting on behalf of the young, and this group
- develops its own interpersonal
- develops relationships between
itself and the young.
- develops relationships between the
For Don Bosco, love translates into
assistance: i.e. a lively participation in the world of the young
and a personal interest shown in each one.
Assistance for Don Bosco is:
- the fruit of love.
- educative presence.
- a realistic appreciation of the
possibilities and limitations of personal development.
An educator must:
- enter into actual meeting with the
- relate empathetically with them.
- stress the interiorization of
- educate to responsibility in daily
- seek ever new ways of being
ANIMATION is the way that salesian
assistance actually occurs.
The assistant, as animator
- operates according to a way of
understanding the human person (see notes on animation).
- seeks to propose happiness in life
as an objective
- uses a method which frees the
individual (i.e. which is not paternalistic or constricting).
- establishes a youthful style.
- sets up a strategy which educates
in a unified way.
Don Bosco insisted on the importance
of the environment as a vehicle for values. He saw this environment
- a family spirit between educators
and ones being educated.
- a place where happiness and
interior calm reign.
- where the young can express
- demanding teamwork and an
To set up such a climate in a world
influenced by so many other agents (for good or for ill), it is
- see it as something belonging to
the whole community
- involve the young themselves in
- keep close contact with their
- look out for gospel elements in
The educational environment becomes a
complete reality involving persons, relationships and organization.