The feast of St. John Bosco, January 31, is a day for teachers and parents to celebrate the life and work of a great teacher, a man who loved the young and left us “his way” of teaching and leading them to choose Goodness.

John Bosco’s spent his life assisting youth in their struggle to become great human beings. “Every young person wants to become a great human being.” St. John devoted his life teaching and supporting the young.

St John died on January 31st, 1888. He was canonized in 1934.

John Bosco motivated the young with his kindness. No matter what misdemeanor or crime had been committed John Bosco approached the reformation of the young person with kindness. In an age when the factory system was teaching the young to be productive economically and society saw virtue in harsh punishment as a deterrent and motivator not to commit the same crime again, John Bosco rescued many through kindness and education.

Bosco had great respect for the young. He could see the good and bad choices they made. He realized that ignorance and bad habits were responsible for many of their difficulties. Bosco dealt with young people and their possibilities for goodness. He saw what they might become and he taught them how to attain goodness. Tragically, we often see and are horrified by the crime without having the wisdom to lead the young to goodness. We all know and can define crime. Bosco knew the potential goodness of every young person and he led them to make good decisions.

Bosco wanted every young person to be educated in an atmosphere of “Reason – Religion and Kindness.”His wish for every classroom and home reminds me of the motto of my own Community, the Basilian Fathers.. It comes from the Psalms; it is a request of a young student to his teacher: - or to his parents: “Teach me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge.” It is significant that knowledge is in third place. Without goodness and discipline there is little hope for knowledge.

Let us discuss that last statement – next time.

Fr Tom Mohan CSB

January, 2008

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