Youth Ministry & Parenting:
by St. John Bosco
This excerpt from a letter by St. John Bosco (Epistolario, Torino 1959, 4, 201-203) is used in the Roman Office of Readings for the liturgical memorial of St. John Bosco on January 31.
First of all, if we wish to appear concerned about the true happiness of our foster children and if we would move them to fulfil their duties, you must never forget that you are taking the place of the parents of these beloved young people. I have always laboured lovingly for them, and carried out my priestly duties with zeal. And the whole Salesian society has done this with me.
My sons, in my long experience very often I had to be convinced of this great truth. It is easier to become angry than to restrain oneself, and to threaten a boy than to persuade him. Yes, indeed, it is more fitting to be persistent in punishing our own impatience and pride than to correct the boys. We must be firm but kind, and be patient with them.
I give you as a model the charity of Paul which he showed to his new converts. They often reduced him to tears and entreaties when he found them lacking docility and even opposing his loving efforts.
See that no one finds you motivated by impetuosity or wilfulness. It is difficult to keep calm when administering punishment, but this must be done if we are to keep ourselves from showing off our authority or spilling out our anger.
Let us regard those boys over whom we have some authority as our own sons. Let us place ourselves in their service. Let us be ashamed to assume an attitude of superiority. Let us not rule over them except for the purpose of serving them better.
This was the method that Jesus used with the apostles. He put up with their ignorance and roughness and even their infidelity. He treated sinners with a kindness and affection that caused some to be shocked, others to be scandalised, and still others to hope for Godís mercy. And so he bade us to be gentle and humble of heart.
They are our sons, and so in correcting their mistakes we must lay aside all anger and restrain it so firmly that it is extinguished entirely.
There must be no hostility in our minds, no contempt in our eyes, no insult on our lips. We must use mercy for the present and have hope for the future, as is fitting for true fathers who are eager for real correction and improvement.
In serious matters it is better to beg God humbly than to send forth a flood of words that will only offend the listeners and have no effect on those who are guilty.
Be sure to read Epidemic by Father Johannes L. Jacobse for further information on Teen Issues.
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Straight talk to Teens on Morality and Sex
1) Moral Dilemmas for Teens: What's at Stake
In this riveting talk, Marcellino D'Ambrosio, through examples from Lord of the Rings, the Bible, and his own teen expereince, lays out a compelling vision of the Power behind the allure of sin and how Catholic morality is the key of getting the most out of life.
2) Teens & Sex: Why Wait till Marriage?
Using an illustration from the popular movie, "The Matrix," Dr. D'Ambrosio exposes the powerful forces behind the flood of sexual propaganda that engulfs teen culture today and how it flows from the "original lie" that goes back to the beginning of time. After listening to this talk, teens understand that sexual desire and sexual pleasure are creations of God which truly give life when used according to manufacturer's specifications.
James: Pearls for Wise Living 10-Part Study (6 DVDs)
James is one of the most practical books of the Bible. Like the book of Proverbs, it is a book of wisdom, a collection of teachings on issues faced by ordinary Christians in everyday life. These teachings speak loudly to all those who feel torn between the competing demands of this world and their faith. This study offers "pearls for wise living" by applying the wisdom of James to the present day. For anyone who has struggled to live a truly Christian life, James offers a wealth of practical solutions for handling and even sanctifying everyday circumstances. 6 DVDs
James: Pearls for Wise Living Study Set
The James Study Set Questions (56 pages) guide participants through their study with thought-provoking questions about the Epistle of James and related portions of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Comprehensive Study Set Responses (40 pages) provide answers and further commentary on the questions as well as a substantive review of each lesson. Each lesson is designed to be followed by the corresponding talk from the DVD or CD series.
Also included in the Study Set is the James Memory Card. This card offers "Pearls for Wise Living" so you can apply the lessons you learn to daily life.