TO THE MEMBERS OF THE ITALIAN PARENTS ASSOCIATION
Paul VI Hall
Friday, 7 September 2018
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
I am pleased to welcome all of you, representatives of AGE, the Italian Parents Association, which this year is 50 years old. A nice goal! It is a precious opportunity to confirm the motivations of your commitment to the family and education: a commitment that is carried out according to the principles of Christian ethics, so that the family is an increasingly recognized subject and protagonist in social life.
Many of your energies are dedicated to supporting and supporting parents in their educational task, especially in reference to the school, which has always been the main partner of the family in the education of children. What you do in this field is really meritorious. In fact, when we talk about an educational alliance between school and family, we are talking about it above all to denounce its decline: the educational pact is falling. The family no longer likes the work of teachers - often poorly paid - as they once did, and they feel the presence of parents in schools as annoying intrusiveness, ending up keeping them on the edge or considering them adversaries.
To change this situation, someone must take the first step, winning the fear of the other and holding out their hands generously. For this reason I invite you to cultivate and always nurture trust in the school and teachers: without them you risk remaining alone in your educational activity and being less able to face the new educational challenges that come from contemporary culture, from society, from mass media, from new technologies. Teachers are like you engaged every day in the educational service to your children. If it is right to complain about the possible limits of their action, it is our duty to esteem them as the most precious allies in the educational enterprise that they bring forward together. I allow myself to tell you an anecdote. I was ten, and I said something bad to the teacher. The teacher called my mother. The next day my mother came, and the teacher went to receive her; they talked, then the mother called me, and in front of the teacher reproached me and told me: "Apologize to the teacher". I did it. "Kiss the teacher", my mother told me. And I did it, and then I went back to the classroom, happy, and the story is over. No, it was not over ... The second chapter is when I came home ... This is called "collaboration" in the education of a child: between the family and the teachers.
Your responsible and available presence, a sign of love not only for your children but for the good of all that is school, will help to overcome many divisions and misunderstandings in this area, and to ensure that families are recognized their primary role in the education and education of children and young people. In fact, if you parents need teachers, even the school needs you and can not achieve its goals without constructing a constructive dialogue with those who have the primary responsibility for the growth of their pupils. As the Exhortation Amoris laetitia points out, "the school does not substitute for parents but is complementary to them. This is a basic principle: any other collaborator in the educational process must act on behalf of the parents, with their consent and, to a certain extent, also on their behalf "(No. 84).
Your associative experience has certainly taught you to trust in mutual help. We remember the wise African proverb: "To educate a child takes a village". Therefore, in school education, collaboration between the various components of the educational community must never be lacking. Without frequent communication and without mutual trust, community is not built and without a community it is not possible to educate.
Helping to eliminate the educational solitude of the families is also the task of the Church, which I invite you to always feel at your side in the mission of educating your children and making the whole of society a family-friendly place, so that each person is welcomed, accompanied , oriented towards true values and being able to give the best of itself for common growth. So you have a double strength: the one that comes from being association, that is people who unite not against someone but for the good of all, and the strength you receive from your bond with the Christian community, where you find inspiration, trust, support.
Dear parents, children are the most precious gift you have received. To know how to keep it with commitment and generosity, leaving them the necessary freedom to grow and mature as people who in turn can one day be able to open themselves to the gift of life. The attention with which, as an association, watch over the dangers that threaten the lives of children does not stop you from looking confidently to the world, knowing how to choose and indicate to your children the best opportunities for human, civil and Christian growth. Teaching your children moral discernment, ethical discernment: this is good, this is not so good, and this is bad. That they can distinguish. But this is learned at home and learned at school: together, both.
I thank you for this meeting and I warmly bless you, your families and the whole association. I assure you of my memory in prayer. And you too, please do not forget to pray for me. Thank you!