The role of reason in Don Bosco’s Way is indispensable because it acts like a bridge in the education of young people in three important ways:
  • It safeguards a relationship based on love (the emotional need) from degenerating into mere sentimentality.
  • It checks the believer’s faith (the spiritual need) from falling into superstition or religious fanaticism.
  • It checks reasoning (the rational need) from becoming individualist anarchism.
In short, reason checks the three values from turning into extremes or  exaggerations. Thanks to the healthy balance of love, faith and reason, educators in Don Bosco’s Way encounter their students with a disposition of respect that facilitates learning and discovery.

However, respect for students is possible only when educators are happy with their own identity. They will be able to know and accept their students only if they first know and accept themselves. This is the basis for the reasonable formulation of rules:

- Educators who are uncomfortable with their own identities are more likely to use rules as defences behind which to conceal their insecurities. They wear masks to hide their complexes and are not at ease in their students’ company. The rules they make are usually convenient to their interests, and seldom challenge their students to grow.

- Teachers who do not know or do not accept their students are unable to gauge whether the rules they make are really helping their students or not.

- Instead, educators who have a healthy self-esteem, those who know and accept themselves as they are (with their positive and negative characteristics), are more likely to know and accept their students as well. Only teachers like these are at home with their pupils. The rules that they design are trusted by the students as positive steps for personal and community growth.

The harmony between self-understanding and student-understanding enables educators create excellent learning spaces that benefit the educator-student relationship.

Art: Peter Gonsalves (from Growing with the Young)