The welcome.
During my illness I dreamed of the future “Città dei Ragazzi” of Rome, a community where the ancient saying “Maxima debetur puero reverentia” would have been meditated and applied, a community where the innate rights and duties and the God given mission of each child in society, would be respected, a fraternal community where, young people who had become cynical because of their negative experiences , would learn the difficult art of living together in freedom, and mutual tolerance, in peace; a joyous place where every antisocial young person would find understanding for his difficulties and encouragement in his effort to advance; a place where the bitter child would learn through the dedication of his elders that there is warmth in the world, goodness and self-sacrifice, a place where the child would be encouraged to develop the gifts with which nature has endowed him, and each day could be a period of growth; a place where the ultimate goal would have been that of helping every young person to find the right place in society, according to God’s plan.
In Boys’ Town there had to be a key capable of opening the sanctuaries of the heart where all the tender memories of yesterday had been hidden , the memories of things so deeply anchored in the fibers, that only remembering them causes pain and suffering. These precious memories had to be freed once again by the magic force of love so that they could no longer hurt, but could once again gain the ancient power to console and encourage.
Trust and love; the two great forces on which to build a city, not only meant as a group of buildings made of stone, but as a community of free, responsible citizens who would live together like brothers under the paternal protection of God.

The method.
Today no one denies that it is necessary to educate young people to responsibility: some however, continue to assert that this is possible without giving them a concrete responsibility, without having the freedom to predispose programs, of taking decisions, to make choices, that is to run the risk of making a mistake.
I ask myself if often it isn’t the adult who fears to face the serious task of educator and also take the risk that comes from it; if he doesn’t prefer the rigid schemes of formal rules, which make easier the outside discipline, but are not made to favour a real education to responsibility.

Can The young people of an institute be educated to responsibility without a major, a judge, elections, assembly, councillors and a bank?
Without doubt, but as long as there is a fit pedagogical system; which, instead, is not at all easy to find. How is it possible to give day after day, concrete responsibilities to hundreds of adolescents?
How can the gradual intensification be programmed, adapting it to the different ages and the various capacities of every one? And how in practice, can this be realized so that it be accepted from the boys too? My fear is that, if a system of life in a community is not elaborated, as far as possible adherent to reality, the risk exists of using one which satisfies the adults for the solution of the immediate disciplinary problems, not taking care of the other, basic one, of real education.


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