Don Bosco – a father to be loved, a teacher to be followed and a model to be imitated.
By Fr Ambrose Pererira SDB. Getting away from the routine of daily life is always difficult. Yet this is what the staff of Don Bosco Solomon Islands did as they spent time in prayer, reflection and sharing at their Staff Retreat. The programme held at Don Bosco Animation Centre, Kola Ridge brought together 17 staff members on 18th and 19th May, 2012. The theme for the retreat was: ‘Don Bosco: a Father to be loved, a teacher to be followed, a model to be imitated’.
Fr. Srimal Priyanga sdb, in his session, highlighted the Salesian Youth Spirituality, a Bosconian system that stresses the connection between the youngster and God and enables him or her make the right choice during decisive moments of their lives. He upheld St. Dominic Savio, a young lad of just 14 years , whose feast day was celebrated on 6th May, who grasped fully Don Bosco’s system at the Oratory – ‘Scantity consists in being cheerful’. He stressed that the staff ensure that their students are formed into ‘Good Christians and Honest citizens” and that they learn and practice the Christian form of leadership, which is ‘Servant Leadership’.
“The relevance of the system and its practice has had a profound effect on the lives of many youngsters” said Fr. Japhet Manebusa, professor at the Holy Name of Mary Seminary, Tenaru. While he appreciated the efforts and commitment of the staff, he challenged them to be prophets and speak out clearly, challenging at the same time the habits and the lives of teachers, encouraging them to focus their knowledge, skill and desire for the all round growth and development of the young. Sharing on the present system of education in the Solomon Islands, he encouraged the staff to make that ‘paradigm shift’ of mentality, be convinced of it, live it out in their lives and ensure that the same is absorbed by the students. “We need to make that change, to do what is good for the young and their lives”, he said.
“The presence of a committed teacher, has a great influence on the minds of the young, as he not only teaches but gives them a direction”, said John Wayne, Carpentry Instructor. “Each teacher is limited by time, and it is essential that every teacher is able to deal with the ‘now’ in the young,” reflected Mana Utsunomiya, JICA Volunteer and Computer Instructor at Don Bosco.
The legacy of the Preventive System of Don Bosco with its three pillars – Reason, Religion and Rapport, and his mission was carefully dealt with by Camari Bainivalu, principal as she dwelt on the new areas of poverty that are present in the lives of the young. “Our joy is when at the end of a tiring day, we are happy with our achievement”, she stated.
The staff had time for reflection and sharing and time to think of the effect of their behavior and attitude on the young minds of their students. Practical exercises and an educative movie reinforced the idea of total commitment and that teaching is a vocation.
“The sessions were interesting, enjoyable and reflective and challenges each of us to greater commitment for the good of the young”, said Maria Kavoa, Life Skills Instructor, at the end of the Retreat.
In expressing his thanks, Fr. Ambrose Pereira sdb, Rector appreciated the insights and the challenges posed by Fr. Japhet Manebusa, Fr. Srimal Priyanga and Ms Camari Bainivalu. He thanked the staff for their participation, sharing and reflections as they dwelt on their vocation as a teacher. He encouraged the staff to bear witness to the young by their own lives. A thanksgiving Eucharist at which the teachers professed their commitment concluded the programme. (CBC Communications 250512 – firstname.lastname@example.org)