I provide here a suggested outline for a talk or class on EDUCATION [or “Parents as primary educators of children”].
My chief source is the excellent article by Prof. Tomás Melendo:
Another chief source is “Familiaris Consortio (FC)”:
Prof. Melendo’s outline is as follows (and the rest of this blog is an ‘expansion’ of this outline):
EDUCATION: 10 basic principles, and 1 key element:
— First-order pieces of advice:
1- The first thing parents need in their task of education is a true and firm love for their children.
2- The first thing that a child needs to be educated is that his parents love each other a lot.
3- Educate in loving.
— 7 added recommendations:
4- The best educator is example.
5- Encourage and reward.
6- Exercise authority, but without forcing it or wasting it.
7- There is need to learn to scold or punish appropriately.
8- Form their conscience.
9- Don’t malform –or bring up badly– your children.
10- Educating in freedom.
— …And the key of all keys:
11- Recourse to God our Lord!
1) FC # 36: “The task of giving education is rooted in the primary vocation of married couples to participate in God’s creative activity: by begetting in love and for love a new person who has within himself or herself the vocation to growth and development, parents by that very fact take on the task of helping that person effectively to live a fully human life. As the Second Vatican Council recalled, “since parents have conferred life on their children, they have a most solemn obligation to educate their offspring. Hence, parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it. For it devolves on parents to create a family atmosphere so animated with love and reverence for God and others that a well-rounded personal and social development will be fostered among the children. Hence, the family is the first school of those social virtues which every society needs.”
The right and duty of parents to give education is essential, since it is connected with the transmission of human life; it is original and primary with regard to the educational role of others, on account of the uniqueness of the loving relationship between parents and children; and it is irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others.
In addition to these characteristics, it cannot be forgotten that the most basic element, so basic that it qualifies the educational role of parents, is parental love, which finds fulfillment in the task of education as it completes and perfects its service of life: as well as being a source, the parents’ love is also the animating principle and therefore the norm inspiring and guiding all concrete educational activity, enriching it with the values of kindness, constancy, goodness, service, disinterestedness and self-sacrifice that are the most precious fruit of love.” (FC, 36)”
2) & 3) FC #18: “The family, which is founded and given life by love, is a community of persons: of husband and wife, of parents and children, of relatives. Its first task is to live with fidelity the reality of communion in a constant effort to develop an authentic community of persons.
The inner principle of that task, its permanent power and its final goal is love: without love the family is not a community of persons and, in the same way, without love the family cannot live, grow and perfect itself as a community of persons. What I wrote in the Encyclical Redemptor hominis applies primarily and especially within the family as such: “Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it.” (FC, 18)”
4) “Fray Ejemplo” [Father Example] as the Spanish would say. “Practice what we preach” as they would always say. And parents –just as children– would have to realize that example is the best preacher. This is a constant BATTLE: I ask you to watch this wonderful motivational video which I got from a Facebook group “Debemos Retomar los Valores” [Back to Values]:
5) and 7) Encourage and Reward + Scold and Punish properly:
Both are necessary, and ensuring that we do both (praise + reprimand) is a difficult task. Even in Management, we had been taught by Kenneth Blanchard that the good manager has to do “One-minute praising” followed by “One-minute reprimanding”. Please read here: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Kenneth+Blanchard:+the+One-Minute+Manager-a0151189054
Another great teacher of such delicate balance between ‘toughness’ on one hand, and ‘tenderness’ on the other, is a person whom I most admire: Prof. Tomás Alvira. Here’s my blog about him and his excellent teaching style:
“Tomás Alvira’s pedagogy was completely opposed to conservatism and rigidity. But what was the secret? It was a combination of understanding of and profound respect towards the student, in a perfect balance with being demanding… Tomás Alvira achieved a lot more than that: to make compatible that demand with that affectionate respect and authentic love for the students. This explains the apparent paradox: a majority of his disciples would highlight his tenderness, but at the same time would affirm that he was a man of strong character. Fortitude and tenderness: demand and affection: this most likely was his secret…”
6) Exercise of authority:
Prof. Tomás Melendo says it perfectly well, on insisting that LOVE is the best guarantee for the exercise of authority:
“All love educates [“The Educational Strength of Love”] when it is authentic love. But when is that love authentic? [we speak here of love of parent for the child, love of teacher for the student] When it is love for the good –the “you”– of the person loved. … It is an ‘intelligent love’ −wanting the true development of the loved one−: it suffers ALL, even the suffering of the person loved. …”
(8) and 10) Forming their conscience; Educating in Freedom:
An expert in this area –one that has written a lot, too, in this area− is Msgr. Cormac Burke. You find many of his works here:
Read his work on “Formation of Conscience” (Chapter 2) and “Freedom” (Chapter 4) here:
9) How to truly BRING UP children: “Love them a lot, and make sure they are HAPPY.”
In an interview with José Luis Olaizola:
we are told that he was asked “And what advice would you give us, so that children be truly happy?” To which he gave the reply “It is not necessary to even get the children to learn to ride a horse, not even to get them to achieve a multiplicity of extra-curricular activities in order for them to be happy. If I knew the answer to such a question, then I’d be the wisest person in the world. But, in any case, I’d give the following reply ‘Love them a lot, and make sure they are happy’.”
11) Praying intensely to God our Lord!
There are tons of material on praying and being prayerful! If you want something simple, I found this Catechetical site −with PowerPoints!− of the various classes of the Catechism:
Please go to and read Class No. 58.
ENJOY YOURSELF! 🙂 😉
I recommend the reading of the following:
Love of Parents, Love of Children: Root of Family Harmony:
The Educational Force of Love: