Today we celebrate the patron saint of youth, boys, and editors, St. John Bosco. Well known across the globe as the founder of the Salesian Order, he was also the educator of St. Dominic Savio, one of the youngest canonized saints the Church has in her communion.
Hailed as one of the greatest teachers of his time, St. John Bosco, or affectionately known to many as Don Bosco, viewed education as the means to help Christian youth find their place in corporate society. He was the master of classroom management, good discipline rooted in liberty, and a strong Catholic identity. For Don Bosco, interpersonal relationships were his primary approach when reaching children. He advised many of his teachers to take this approach with the children under their care.
He was the first priest to introduce daily reception of Holy Communion into boarding schools. When asked by his students how one could live a long and healthy life, his maxim consisted of four things: always have a clear conscience, moderation in eating, live an active life, and surround yourself with good companions.
We could spend a plethora of blog posts talking about his educational philosophy, but for today, I want to provide you with 10 sayings of his when it comes to teaching and life in general. If you are an educator and would like to know his educational pedagogy, I suggest the book, The Educational Philosophy of St. John Bosco. It’s an excellent read and you will surely gather practical insight for your classroom and for life.
Don Bosco said…
1. “Without confidence and love, there can be no true education. If you want to be loved…you must love yourselves, and make your children feel that you love them.”
2. “The school was not the end; it was rather the instrumental means for improving the way of life.”
3. “If one is to do good, he must have a little courage, be ready for sacrifice, deal affably with all and never slight anybody. By following this method I have always had significant success, in fact, marvelous success.”
Particularly to Youth he would say…
4. “Act today in such a way that you need not blush tomorrow.”
5. “Do not put off till tomorrow the good you can do today. You may not have a tomorrow.”
6. “Let us strive to fare well in this life and in the next.”
7. “Be slow to pass judgment.”
8. “Do you want your companions to respect you? Always think well of everyone, and be ready to help others. Do this and you will be happy.”
9. “Run, jump, have all the fun you want at the right time, but, for heaven’s sake, do not commit sin!” (from St. Philip Neri).
10. “Servite Domino in laetitia!” (Serve the Lord joyfully!)
For me, Don Bosco was a major influence in my teaching when I taught high school theology in both Phoenix and Austin. I have read his educational philosophy a couple of times and often used many of the quotes from above in my classroom. Although my new position at the parish is fantastic, reading through the text and writing this blog post has made me miss teaching a bit, well at least the part of teaching that doesn’t have to do with grading.
St. John Bosco…Pray For Us!