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The article highlights the essence of the warning pedagogy of the Italian saint Don Bosco, who spent his entire life serving children and young people, creating oratorios and shelters for them. He devoted himself to the cause of saving young people who were in constant danger for body and soul. The article focuses on the pedagogical, spiritual guidance and advice of Father Bosco on the issue of upbringing of the younger generation.
Keywords: St. John Bosco, “preventive pedagogy”, system of upbringing, mercy, goodness, joy.

Gorodetska O. V.
Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences,
Ternopil Regional Communal Institute of Postgraduate Pedagogical Education, Ternopil, Ukraine


The Italian saint John Bosco or Don Bosco devoted his entire life to God through service to children and adolescents, orphans and the homeless, for whom he was a father, teacher, educator, counselor and friend. Don (Giovanni) Bosco (1815-1888) was an Italian priest, educator, founder of the Order of St. Francis of Sales, who, based on his experience, developed a system of work with children and adolescents, which was soon called “preventive”.

This system is based on the idea that upbringing should not require punishment for possible misconduct, but should be based solely on love. Don Bosco’s pedagogical method draws attention to the potential for goodness that a child has in his or her heart, excluding the use of coercion. John Bosco believed that a teacher should be a parent, counselor, and friend. This modern and humane method of upbringing was considered a real innovation [6].

St. John Bosco believed that upbringing young people requires: pedagogical competence; love of life; a positive view of oneself and others; passion (passione) for young people [4].

St. John Bosco’s “safeguard system” is simple, useful, and involves awareness of the requirements and rules so that students are always under the supervision of a teacher or assistant who speaks like a loving parent, is present at every event, gives advice and corrects with love, that is, prevents children from doing something bad [4]. Such a system creates a friendship between the teacher and the student, where children see the teacher as a good person who gives them advice, wants to make them good, to save them from trouble, from punishment, from dishonor [4]. Children need to run, jump, and play to their heart’s content. The educator should use gymnastics, music, theater performances, and walks – these are very effective means of educating children in morality and dignity. It is only necessary to make sure that there is nothing wrong with the behavior [4].

St. John Bosco describes the “warning system” of teaching and upbringing as follows:

“Children should be brought up not by coercion and fear, but by persuasion. In this system, there is no force, but mercy is the driving force” [7].

The basic advice and instructions that St. Don Bosco left to educators, teachers, and parents remain relevant and can help guide children along the path of virtue.

— Faith alone can begin and complete the great work of true education, which is to promote good Confession and Communion. Faith and reason are the two springs of the educational system.
— The first virtue of children is to obey their parents. God always blesses children who obey their parents.
Gratitude of young people is often a prerequisite for a happy life. We sincerely sympathize with the ungrateful, for they are unhappy.
— To correct someone and get a good result, do not correct anyone in the presence of others. Let love soften the bitterness of correction.
Try to be loved, then everyone will easily obey you. There is goodness in every boy: therefore, the first duty of the educator is to find this sensitive place in the heart and use it in a useful way.
For your word to be weighty and to have the necessary consequences, you must always neglect your own self.
— The greatest happiness for a boy is to know that he is loved.
Let your speech and behavior always be tactful. Delicacyin words and behavior will make others your friends.
A lazy and undisciplined boy will be an unhappy young man.
Do what you have to do as well as you can.
Only good deeds are true wealth. In addition to prayer, which should always accompany us, we must also do many good deeds. Without them, we will waste our lives.
Doing good requires courage. The willingness to endure, to never humiliate anyone, to always be kind. Do good to everyone and evil to no one. At the end of life, the fruits of good deeds are reaped.
Do not give in to envy: the good of one should be the good of all.
Avoid every evil habit we must get used to doing good and only good. Our body is insatiable: the more we give it, the more it demands; the less we give it, the less it demands.
Immoderation in food shortens life. He who knows how to control his gluttony is a true man.
In order to maintain good health and live long, one must: have a clear conscience, that is, live in the favor of God, not overeat, work, and avoid evil friends.
He who is lazy during life will cry at the time of death. Idleness is the greatest enemy to fight.
Amusement should dispel all sorrow in the soul. By any means, drive it away, for it harms the soul.
The poor and the abandoned have no other refuge than in your generous heart. Give much to the poor if you want to become rich. We will have a great reward for the good we do in life.
It is better to educate with love and joy, showing the positive and encouraging goodness, than to leave children alone and only punish them when they break the rules [1, p. 153162].
Prevention is better than cure.
Punishment should be the last resort.
Except in very rare cases, reprimands and punishments should not be given in public, but only face to face and away from others.
— Avoid all kinds of beating, coercion, and other similar punishments.
— Be demanding when it comes to duties, resolute in the pursuit of good, courageous in preventing evil, but always gentle and prudent.
— To be a true parent in contact with young people, we cannot allow the shadow of anger to darken the face.
— The teacher must strive to make students love him if he wants to win their respect [7].

From the point of view of the system of education accepted at that time, based on the authoritarian power of the teacher, these were truly revolutionary ideas and advice.

St. John Bosco believed that his educational system was extremely simple:

“Give the boys the freedom to do what they like. The problem is to discover the seeds of good inclinations in them and develop them. And in order for everyone to be happy to do only what they can do, I rely on this rule; and all my students work not only with vigilance but also with love. Discipline was to be achieved not by punishment but by persuasion, and the ideal of obedience was not a perfectly lined up line of students but a crowd around the teacher. Fun was a natural source of the supernatural” [5; 3].

“Preventive pedagogy” is aimed at preventing young people from coming into contact with negative experiences that can slow down the internal development of a student. This cannot be achieved by prohibitions and restrictions alone. It is necessary to create the right atmosphere based on the love of the Gospel.

St. Don Bosco devoted his life to orphans and homeless boys to save their souls. He gave them everything he had: a modest estate, time, and health.

List of references

1. Bianco E., De Ambrogio C. Father Bosco – a friend of youth. Lviv: Don Bosco, 2008. 177 с.
2. The educational system of Don Bosco. URL: (accessed November 20, 2022).
3. Don Bosco, the holy educator: 14 Credo facts. URL: (accessed November 30, 2022).
4. Preventive system of St. John Bosco. URL: (accessed November 25, 2022).
5. Dictionary of Father Bosco – instructive sayings. URL: (accessed December 10, 2022).
6. Aphorisms of St. John Bosco from Father Alexander Chumakov. URL: (accessed November 30, 2022).
7. How to discipline children: 7 instructions from the educator St. Don Bosco. URL: (accessed November 30, 2022).