France - An educational question: "In the family you can't talk!"

17 May 2018

(ANS - Lyon) - If the development of the critical spirit is at the center of the educational mission of school, it is, or ought to be, also central to and within families. How is interaction in the family, how does it take place? How does one give space to the words of one's children? And open their horizon? Here are some parents talking about the rules they have adopted.

The first imperative is to never make fun of them, children. Don Bosco invites us to take what is positive, even when we do not agree. The hardest thing is to listen to the child, respect his or her word, not denigrate them.

The second imperative is to worry about or concern oneself with explanations. Parents make decisions all the time, make choices for the whole family. But they must also be careful to explain them, take the time to explain the reasons for the decisions. Giving thus meaning and reasons leading to one's decisions helps the child make their own choices in the future.

The privileged place for talk is at the table. "We start from a lived or experienced situation, a subject discussed in the classroom or a question that they have asked us, and each one of us takes the time to express themselves, to be listened to and to listen to without necessarily reacting," explains Agnès, mother of four children of Lyon.

"And you, what do you think?" This is the most used phrase at the table in Helen's family. The important thing is to regulate talk among the children, that is, to encourage those who do not speak, to ensure that those who speak all the time also listen. "Everyone has the right to disagree" is another fixed point.

"When there is nothing special to say, we go to the 'Trois kifs', the title of the book by Florence Servan-Schreiber, published 8 years ago. It helps in that it gives everyone a chance to speak: 'Tell us, what is it that marked or struck you today?' Very often, it might be a case of conscience, or some event that happened in the classroom, problems of justice and injustice that may have darkened or delighted the child during the day," continues Helen.

It is important that the adult does not judge immediately, does not give solutions too quickly, does not generalize too much with phrases like "that's the way it is", but gives a chance for children to open up to the other's perceptions, to take other points of view, to question what is being discussed.

Of course parents must have the same qualities. An adult's talk is significant or meaningful when the children realize that they too have taken the time and made the effort to listen to others and weigh their opinions.

Source: Don Bosco Aujourd'hui


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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