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From the Rector
Last Thursday I attended the first part of the gathering and presentation of the Year 7 “Mother and Son” event. The speaker and motivator touched on a theme that is very close to the heart of everyone who understands and follows the Don Bosco way of education – I refer to the theme of PRESENCE.
The kind of presence that Don Bosco practiced is much more than ‘supervision’. It is typical of a mother who makes the home a place of warmth and welcome, of happiness and understanding, of sharing and involvement. This kind of presence requires quality time spent with others, in active participation in work and games, in interests, ideas and emotions.
Don Bosco often spoke of teachers having the same mentality and approach that parents have for their children. He also used the expression “assistance”, with its original connotation of “standing beside”, of being with, and sharing the day-to-day activities of the students.
All this requires the physical presence of a parent at home, or a teacher at school. Being absent, or even standing and supervising while keeping to oneself and remaining aloof from any involvement, being disinterested in what is going on around us, constantly making negative comments and disparaging remarks… all this is directly contrary to any resemblance of Salesian presence, which is warm, interested, involved, mingling, trusting, inclusive.
Today, one of the biggest challenges to the above concept and practice of presence is the obsessive use of the ‘gadget’, meaning the mobile phone, iPad, laptop computer, etc., when the individual interacts only with the ‘impersonal’ gadget. Other people are ignored or excluded, and social interaction occurs only through a tool… All this makes the ‘Salesian’ approach to education very difficult.
I hope that families teach their children a balanced approach to electronic equipment, and a sense of accountability in their use.
Congratulations and thanks to those mothers and mentors who were actively present in last Thursday’s event.
Fr Frank Bertagnolli SDB