“From the first hour of school - Father Giussani wrote - I always said: ‘I am not here so that you consider as yours the ideas that I pass to you, but to teach you a true method to judge the things that I will tell you. And the things that I will tell you are an experience which is the result of a long past: two thousand years long.’ Compliance with this method has characterized our commitment to education from the outset, stating its purpose in a clear way: to show the relevance of faith to the needs of life.”
Father Giussani’s educational method can be summarized into five factors:
a) The event of an encounter
Those who meet the Movement come across an experience comparable to the faith handed down for centuries in the Catholic Church (tradition). Faith is “proposed as the supreme rationality, since the encounter with the event that carries it generates an experience and a correspondence with the human heart that is unexpected, inconceivable.”
b) Loyalty to tradition
“In order to educate, the past must be properly proposed. If the young aren’t proposed the past, the knowledge of the past, of tradition, they grow odd or skeptical.” “This tradition works for the young as a kind of explanatory hypothesis of reality.”
c) Authority: existentiality of a proposal
“The past can be proposed to the young only if it is presented within a present that highlights its correspondence to the ultimate needs of the heart.” This task is performed by an authority: people who live consciously the tradition and propose it giving reasons for it.
d) Education to critical thinking and personal verification
The proposed tradition must then be personally verified, that is, compared with one’s own needs and ultimate evidences. Only in this way, through the impact of the environment and the whole of reality, a person is not alienated nor subordinated to the dominant culture.
e) The risk is necessary to freedom
The relationship with the world exposes the young to the risk of choices or resolutions other than those set by the educator. This risk is unavoidable and necessary for the personality to really mature and for freedom to be fully engaged.