Father Louis Brisson, the founder of the Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales, sought to have Salesian Spirituality at the heart of the education of youth. He writes, “What greater thing in all the world…than to fashion souls? What is greater than to mold the morals of the young? More skillful than any painter, more ingenious than the most artistic sculptors, is one whose art is to shape consciences for good and form character, one who can recreate in a person the image and likeness of God.” In the practical standards of contemporary times, the ministry of education of youth receives little compensation and reward. However, from the Salesian perspective, there is no greater ministry in the world than to shape the mind and heart of the young.
The Salesian method is to bring students to love and respect their God-given gifts in such a way that they will endeavor to develop them fully. To accomplish this goal, educators must respect the dignity, freedom, and uniqueness of each student. This permits freedom and creativity in students within the framework of order and reason. Educators should cultivate the students’ good will towards them so that love and respect follow.