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From the Rector
“Remember that education is a matter of the heart” – is an often-quoted statement by Don Bosco. As all parents and educators know, this is the greatest challenge of all. To think, feel and act from the heart (out of love and genuine interest of the child), and to receive a response that comes from the heart of the child, are deeply personal experiences of growth and maturity, typical of a well-rounded and educated personality.
Recently I came across a book by the title “Educating Hearts” – written by two experienced teachers and parents. Nowhere in this book I found any reference to Don Bosco by name, but the ideas presented in it would have done Don Bosco proud!
The sub-title of the book is also interesting: “Seven Characteristics of a Good School”. One of those characteristics is called SPIRITUALITY. And this word takes in a great variety of experiences that go beyond Religious Education – such as reflection and silence, prayer and respect for the sacred, celebration in the chapel and honouring the school’s Patron Saints, appreciation of nature and tolerance for the diversity of people, knowledge of the Bible and of the teachings of Jesus and the Church, living by the truth and doing one’s best every day to make good use of our God-given talents… These are all experiences that educate the heart and are integral to the spiritual dimension of education. Spirituality will equip a young person with the compass and the map that will help them chart their way through life.
The end result is the response we offer to others, motivated by a sense of gratitude, generosity, understanding, compassion and service.
The authors of the book call on all school staff to continue to develop their own spiritual formation and that of their pupils.
This is very similar to an article I read recently written by a Professor of Psychiatry in England. The article had the title: “Five-a-day for a healthy soul”, and the author advocated to practice each day five simple things – much as we are advised by health professionals to eat at least five pieces of fruit and vegetable each day! The five-a-day for spiritual health and wellbeing proposed by this psychiatrist are: GIVING (Parents are used to this!); READING (something spiritual and uplifting); SILENCE (for a few minutes each day – like meditation); CREATION (awareness of the beauty and the mystery around us); PRAYER (engaging God or the divine – which can be done while driving, or doing some domestic chores…)
I encourage parents and all educators to practice healthy and positive spiritual habits.
Fr Frank Bertagnolli SDB