Because of who we are, our backgrounds, our experiences etc. we all look at things or approach things differently. It is like looking at the world through our own inner window.
Don Bosco approached his work with young people, by looking through his window; for him his work involved four different window panes – SCHOOL, CHURCH, PLAYGROUND and HOME. The vital part of all this fourfold pattern was BALANCE. No child was pushed to pursue one at the expense of the other. If he saw a person constantly in Church and never in the playground he was concerned. If a young person was regularly alone and did not feel at home with the rest of the group he wanted to find out why. If someone was always studying and not spending time with his friends he would talk to his teachers to balance things up. Don Bosco used this fourfold approach to young people as a way of seeing into their world.
SO WHAT CAN I DO?
What skills do I need to work with the young? Maybe the language above feels a little ancient – but new words like BELONGING, LEARNING, MEANING and CELEBRATION can be substituted.
- BELONGING – In my situation how do I make each child or young person feel welcome? What words or actions can I use to help them feel as if they are fully part of the group? A question here, a comment there; am I creating a safe and caring environment?
- LEARNING – In every activity we do together how do I create the possibility of growth? Are my activities well planned (even those that seem to occur spontaneously)? Do I create the conditions for learning leadership skills, standing back and encouraging the young in their plans and ideas?
- MEANING – Is the idea of linking ‘Faith and Fun’ part of my geography? How am I helping children to sense God’s presence in every situation? Do I encourage young people to take the lead in organising faith moments?
- CELEBRATING – How many times have you been bored? I mean really bored!! Staying young with the young involves laughter and fun. Young people need to be able to run, to make noise, to do things to burn off energy – do I create the right environment for this (a safe and caring one)?