For “The Risk of Education”

The late Fr. Luigi Giussani, who founded the international Communion and Liberation movement, sometimes is hard for me to follow. Our School of Community is reading his seminal work “The Religious Sense,” and, to be honest, I would find it tough to grasp were it not for the skilled summaries provided by the woman who leads our weekly group.

This weekend, I bought another of his books, one that is easily accessible to me: “The Risk of Education. “ The subtitle is: Discovering our Ultimate Destiny.  I recommend this book to anyone who is a teacher or a parent or who hopes to be.

I have just started reading this one. I’m sneaking in bits and pieces as I cram in my year-end graduate school assignments and end-of-year tasks as a new high school teacher. I don’t have a succinct review of this book to offer but want to share some quotes I am underlining (It seems I am underlining half the lines in this book). Here’s what has inspired me in the first THREE pages.

The primary concern of society is to teach the young. This is the opposite of what currently happens.”

“True education (is)…educating what is human in us, our source or origin.”

“Ethics is nothing more than the continuation of the attitude in which God originally created humanity in its relation to all things.”

And finally, as the mother of a teen and a preteen, these words went straight to my heart:

True education must be an education in criticism. Up to the age of ten (Maybe even sooner these days) a child is still allowed to say ‘Because the teacher said so, because mommy said so.’ This is because those who love the child instinctively offer him, and fill his knapsack with, the best of their experiences, the best choices they made in their own lives. There comes a point, however, when nature gives the child to take this knapsack and look at it…What one has been told must become a problem! Unless this happens, it will either be irrationally rejected or irrationally kept but will never mature.”

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