«Merit is giving opportunities to those who don't have any. Never silence books»- Corriere.it

«Merit is giving opportunities to those who don't have any.  Never silence books»- Corriere.it

Of Cesare Zapperi

The President of the Republic in sight in Barbiana for the hundredth anniversary of the birth of the educator priest

The role of school in society, as a place to eliminate differences and to give everyone the opportunity to grow. The President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella recalls this speaking in Barbiana for the ceremony of the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Don Lorenzo Milani. "School belongs to everyone. School should be for everyone. Don Milani explained, having before him peasant children who seemed inexorably destined to be extraneous to school life: “A school that selects destroys culture. It takes away the means of expression for the poor. He takes away the knowledge of things from the rich". Impossible not to grasp the wisdom of these thoughts. It was his pedagogy of freedom."

The speech of the President of the Republic underlines the importance of Don Milani's teaching: «The prime mover of his ideas of justice and equality was precisely the school. The school as a lever to combat poverty. It is no coincidence that today the expression `educational poverty' is used to affirm the risks deriving from a school that fails to be a vehicle for the citizen's education. The school to know. To learn, above all, the language, to be able to use the word. Poverty in language is a vehicle of complete poverty, and generates further discrimination. The school, in a democratic country, cannot fail to have the elimination of all discrimination as its primary purpose and horizon".

«The merit is not the amplification of the advantage of those who are already favourites. Merit is give new opportunities to those who don't have any, because it's right and in order not to make Italy lose precious talents if they find the opportunity to express themselves, as everyone must be guaranteed» explains the Head of State. “His boys didn't have words. For this they were excluded. And if they hadn't conquered them, they would have been excluded forever. Earning words meant setting out on a road to liberation. But he also called to grow one's conscience as a citizen; feeling, at the same time, entitled to rights and responsible for the community in which one lives".

«Don Lorenzo Milani had a very strong sense of politics. If the Gospel was the fire that drove him to love, the Constitution was his lay gospel» Mattarella remarks again speaking in Barbiana, a town in the municipality of Vicchio (Florence) where the prior founded a school in 1954 to teach the children of the area with an innovative pedagogical method. «It is difficult not to see the close link between his teaching and the faith he professed: before anything else, respect and the dignity of every person. Here Don Milani the priest, the educator, the exhorter to commitment intertwine. Commitment - educational and growth - always requires consistency to be authentic. Often sacrifice. Like many mountain curates who looked after the communities entrusted to them, Don Milani did not shy away. He was young. He asked his boys not to be overcome by the temptation of renunciation, of indifference. Barbiana's school lasted all day. He tried to instill the desire to learn, the willingness to work together with others. He tried to establish the habit of observing the things of the world with a critical spirit. Without ever escaping the confrontation, without pretending to silence someone, much less a book or its presentation. In short, he invited us to know how to discern ».

Don Milani was «a great Italian who, with his lesson, invited the exercise of active responsibility. His "I care" has become a universal motto. The motto of those who reject selfishness and indifference. That expression was accompanied by another. He said: "As long as there is effort, there is hope". Without the effort of commitment, society does not improve. Commitment accompanied by trust that illuminates the path of those who really want to build. And he has followed a real path of construction».

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May 27, 2023 (change May 27, 2023 | 12:16)

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