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Gerardo Castillo Ceballos, Professor Emeritus of the School of Education and Psychology of the University of Navarra.
The helm educational in a changing society
In my opinion, educating in today's age entails, among others, five difficulties-challenge. First difficulty: learning that prepares for life is no longer acquired primarily in school. The school cannot ignore what happens in the world outside it, especially in the families of schoolchildren. As the first and foremost educators, parents can delegate instruction to the school, but not to training. The latter is more proper to the natural environment of Education which is the family (an environment of intimacy, unconditional love and intense coexistence in which the values that give meaning to human life are discovered and acquired). For this reason, the current tendency of parents to entrust the total Education of their children to teachers is very worrying.
Second difficulty: the school cannot ignore the fact that municipalities, businesses and the media are places of learning which, if they converge in common purposes, constitute an educating society. Society is expected to promote spaces for coexistence and social participation. Unlike today, in the past, society was an educating society. Parents had allies who shared their same values; they knew that the school, the media, leisure and entertainment centers, etc. were, in some way, going in the same direction. This difference between the society of the past and that of today can be seen, for example, in the topic of good manners. Children lived civility and respect for others both at home and in the street; it was common for them to give up their seat on the bus to an elderly or disabled person, and to help a blind person cross the street; if someone did not do so, their behavior was socially shocking. Today, on the other hand, most people omit this subject behavior without it being shocking to those who see it. Today, society has ceased to play the old role of convergence of educational purposes.
Third difficulty: we live in a society subject to accelerated change. Social change today takes place at such a great speed that it produces a premature aging of knowledge. Much of the knowledge that students learn today at school will not be useful for them to access their first work, because it is obsolete. This forces teachers to focus on what ages the least and on what is most useful to face unexpected situations: the development of competencies such as, for example, knowing how to think, how to invent, how to learn, how to inform oneself, how to communicate, how to express oneself.
Fourth difficulty: the social crisis of values. In today's society, the pleasurable and utilitarian dimension of life predominates over the ethical dimension. Fashionable values: individualism (each to his own), desire, sensible pleasure, money, material well-being. Forgotten values: truth, goodness, beauty, honesty, honesty, effort, discipline, responsibility, service.
Today's parents are often blamed for their children's lack of ideals, ignoring the fact that social changes have made Education much more difficult. Cristine Collange, a French journalist with several teenage children, has written a book in defense of today's parents with this degree scroll: I, your mother. I select an excerpt:
"I am tired of hearing at every moment of teenagers who suffer because of their parents' lack of understanding; the opposite also exists: parents who feel rejected by their children. This is never talked about. Have pity on today's parents! We are accused of all their faults, which serves the children as an alibi for their mistakes. We have not been such bad parents; it was not easy to take the helm educational in a society in complete transformation, in which all values have suddenly aged. We are not always to blame; sometimes the children are more to blame than the parents. Besides, why don't they help us?"
Fifth difficulty: the crisis of authority. Experience tells us that the spontaneous behavior of children is not enough for them to become what they should be: it is necessary to intervene in their lives. Without authority they would not acquire good habits: self-control, self-discipline, order, respect, strength. Authority is a form of love, since its exercise makes possible the improvement staff of children and students. Parents who do not exercise authority have already resigned as parents, and their children - in the words of John Paul II - are "orphans of living parents".