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Work needs to be done so that the educational communities, the families and the schools in particular, but not only them, may become places where support is given to personal growth by offering (being examples of) dialogic and convivial models that are respectful of individuals and of their different identities. The deterioration of the sense of community is today one of the main factors that make it difficult for young people to grow up, in that they are deprived of an essential support for their development. In the various segments of life and in the different moments of personal development, it is necessary to set up educational itineraries that guide the individual to perceive and welcome the presence of the other, and to perceive himself as otherness for the other, since the conquering of one’s identity is always the conquest of one’s diversity, in the richness of interpersonal exchange.

2.Refusal and quest for authority

The last observation concerns the educator. The entire debate which has developed around the theme of identity has continually recalled the importance of adults and the need for authority that infants, children and young boys and girls have. There is no nostalgia for formal types of authority, that are not plausible, false or violent. But there is an awareness of how urgent it is, both within the family and at school and in the different contexts where children grow up, that there be as a point of reference a responsible adult who is capable of offering a reference point for the growing child and a convincing and fascinating hypothesis, someone who is a fair interlocutor, and has the courage of containment and is capable of pointing to the way one must go instead of being someone that demands formal respect and compliance with unjustified rules. An authority with this connotation is the “other” that enables the youngster to reflect and re-orientate his journey and have him look in the same direction by capturing his eyes. The educator is authoritative because he is credible, because the hypothesis he proposes is the hypothesis that he himself puts into practice and bears witness to. It has been said that young people look for ‘competent’ adults, competent in listening, competent in accompanying, competent in giving a sense to the adventure of growth and capable of not ‘withholding’ but of directing.

3.Lines for future exploratory work

There are several questions that can help start the discussion aimed at working out an education hypothesis:


How can we help people go beyond a merely affective concept of the parenthood, so that the parent role may become a place where not only are the needs of security and affect met, but also a place where adolescents can learn about being responsible and accountable, where they can be introduced into the social dimension and be given an ethical and value orientation?


How can we deal with the crisis of the parent roles, and have the father return to the family scene also in a role of containment and orientation, and enable the mother to reconcile her need for social and professional fulfilment with her need for providing affection and education?

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