Our Lasallian world is largely peopled with children. This is not surprising since our mission has always been to provide a human and Christian education for young people. Our love for children, then, takes the form of educational service .
The spiritual basis for showing love and concern for children may perhaps come from our moral beliefs. In our Lasallian world it comes also from the life and work of our Founder, John Baptist de La Salle.
La Salle was !ˇ±deeply moved!ĆŘ by the plight of the poor children roaming the streets of his native city Reims. They were not going to school or had no proper schools to go to. They were running wild and being led astray. They were like sheep without a shepherd.
La Salle wanted to !ˇ±save!ĆŘ these children and gradually he found a way by training teachers and founding well-run schools.
To St. La Salle, children, however weak, poor or wayward, were !ˇ±images of God!ĆŘ and therefore were to be treasured. Each child is unique and to be treated as such. Indeed he went so far as to say: !ˇ±Look upon the children God has entrusted to you as the children of God himself.!ĆŘ They were to be treated with more care and concern than the children of a King.
He went even further. A Lasallian teacher's care and concern must go so far !ˇ±that you are ready to give your very life, so dear to you are the children.!ĆŘ This reminds us of Jesus laying down his life for his friends.
In dealing with the children Lasallian teachers are to act like Guardian Angels, like Good Shepherds, like Ministers of God, like dedicated gardeners and like fathers and mothers !V loving, caring, watching, preventing, encouraging and nurturing. They are to lead the children to speak the truth, to be gentle and forgiving with one another, to love and respect their parents and teachers, to read good books, to pray well. Lasallian teachers are to be straightforward in dealing with the children, not trying to impress with !ˇ±learned words!ĆŘ. They are not to show favouritism and are to be especially kind to the slowest and poorest. They are never to use harsh, insulting words or any form of rough treatment.
Lasallian teachers will above all pray for their students. They will talk to God about their needs and difficulties. They will pray especially for those who are weak or wayward.
In our love for the children, however, we are to ensure that they behave well. We are to be kind but firm. For their own good, children are to corrected and reproved when they do wrong. Such correction or punishment is never to be done in anger or resentment. This is training for a morally good life.
In Lasallian Spirituality, the child, created in the image of God, is central. !ˇ±Whoever welcomes one such child as this in my name, welcomes me.!ĆŘ (Mt. 18:5)