Some skills to promote an ecology of loving kindness in Don Bosco's Way are:

a. Listening in order to understand: When an educator listens with the heart, that is, in a non-judgemental way – he or she empowers the learner. Young people look for recognition (a basic need of every human being) and in giving them time and attention they feel encouraged to be themselves and to express themselves without wearing masks.

b. Being Available: Love shows itself in the physical presence of parents and educators among their children, not in flowery speeches or expensive gifts. The secure way to make them return love for love is to reach out to where they feel most at home. The presence of the educator in the life of the students beyond the classroom will boost the quality of their participation in class. There can be more learning in playgrounds, music clubs, hobby time, picnics and excursions, than within the walls of a lecture hall.

c. Being Respectful to all: Love shows itself in the esteem teachers have for their students - for all students equally and without distinction. This can be a big challenge for educators of South Asia, where it is easy to relate well with only those students who share the educator's cultural or religious background. Partiality to certain students and intolerance or rudeness to others is the end of a dignified teaching career. Educators must make extra effort to reach out in respect to other groups besides those with whom they feel most comfortable. Such educators are valuable assets to any educational institution.

d. Concern for the underprivileged: The attitude of loving kindness has to translate into care for those who are on the periphery. This special attention to the slow, the poor, the weak, the differently-abled, is essential for educating in Don Bosco's Way. It is a type of partiality that is respected by society, because it is directed towards those who are usually left behind in the race to compete. South Asian society is so markedly stratified that an extra concern for helping those at the bottom of the ladder of success becomes a moral obligation no genuine educator with a social conscience can ignore.

e. Being Creative: Love is full of surprises. Educators who are inventive in their methods of teaching usually endear themselves to their students. This means taking risks. In an environment of loving acceptance, the failure or ‘making a fool of oneself’ is an opportunity for new insights, a chance to know why things went wrong, a possibility for greater self-discovery. Mistakes become occasions for improvement and success because love is the safety net that bears all things and understands all things. (I Corinthians 13:7-8)

Art: Peter Gonsalves (from Growing with the Young)

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