Towards a Better Education of Children

In Chapter Seven, TOWARDS A BETTER EDUCATION OF CHILDREN, Pope Francis discusses the importance of parents devoting time to children, to speak of important things ‘with simplicity and concern’.

He reinforces the role of parents to shield children from harm saying there is never benefit from neglect but he cautions that though ‘vigilance is always necessary’, it is not to be mistaken for ‘constant supervision’.

Obsession, however, is not education. We cannot control every situation that a child may experience. Here it remains true that “time is greater than space” (291). In other words, it is more important to start processes than to dominate spaces. If parents are obsessed with always knowing where their children are and controlling all their movements, they will seek only to dominate space. But this is no way to educate, strengthen and prepare their children to face challenges. What is most important is the ability lovingly to help them grow in freedom, maturity, overall discipline and real autonomy. Only in this way will children come to possess the wherewithal needed to fend for themselves and to act intelligently and prudently whenever they meet with difficulties.

What are you reactions and thoughts to this quote? Do you think it applies also to school and if so, for what reasons and how might it apply to a context where there are many children and fewer adults?

Pope Francis encourages parents with children to find healthy ways of keeping children from harm. What might these be?

Source: Statement on the Family April 8 2016, pp. 197-198, para. 260 & 261


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