mercoledì 29 novembre 2017


A Passion that is Renewed
Una passione che si rinnova

Prof. dr. Italo Fiorin
    Director of the Higher Education School 
‘Educating for Encounter and Solidarity’ (EIS)
 of the LUMSA, Rome.

               The perennial tasks of education are to convey to the young generations the cultural heritage of the community they belong to and to provide them with the appropriate skills to play a full part in economic and social life on completion of formal education. Today, however, these tasks need to be rethought in the light of the challenges that the 21st century society poses to education. We can summarize the challenges as follows: competitive individualism; multicultural society and the globalization of indifference. To help the human person to become more human (J. Maritain) and to fully realize his potential, we must change the logic of the debate, replacing the paradigm of individualistic utilitarianism with the paradigm of service. The pedagogical proposal of Service Learning seems particularly interesting in this respect.
               What does it mean to educate in the cultural and social climate in which we currently live?
               I like the definition of a French philosopher of the twentieth century, a great friend of Pope Paul VI: ‘Education means helping the human person to become more human’ (J. Maritain). To educate, therefore, means recognizing this profound human vocation, to which we cannot respond answer alone because no one is self-sufficient, least of all the little child who needs someone accompanying him in his growth process, helping him to recognize the meaning of life. Educationally, the verb ‘to accompany’ is very important, both delicate and strong at the same time.
               This is a task that demands great respect, great care, great wisdom. The difference between those who use authority to direct the lives of others and those who use it to help others become as autonomous as possible is summed up as the difference between being authoritarian and being authoritative.
               The authoritarian person demands undue obedience arising from of fear of sanction; the authoritative person fosters individual freedom and is listened to because he is credible,speaking meaningfully to our heart.

               Moreover, the meaning of word authority ('augere' – to grow, replenish, donate abundantly) is about fostering the growth, not the subordination, of others. ......

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