The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. Pope Francis lauds education as such, but as his second predecessor did, he singles out the family as a worthy locus for education, or apprenticeship.
213. Ecological education can take place in a variety of settings: at school, in families, in the media, in catechesis and elsewhere. Good education plants seeds when we are young, and these continue to bear fruit throughout life. Here, though, I would stress the great importance of the family, which is “the place in which life – the gift of God – can be properly welcomed and protected against the many attacks to which it is exposed, and can develop in accordance with what constitutes authentic human growth. In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life”.[Centesimus Annus 39]
After Saint John Paul’s testimony, a reality check for families. Do we act on these?
- In the family we first learn how to show love and respect for life; we are taught the proper use of things, order and cleanliness, respect for the local ecosystem and care for all creatures.
- In the family we receive an integral education, which enables us to grow harmoniously in personal maturity.
- In the family we learn to ask without demanding, to say “thank you” as an expression of genuine gratitude for what we have been given, to control our aggressivity and greed, and to ask forgiveness when we have caused harm.
These simple gestures of heartfelt courtesy help to create a culture of shared life and respect for our surroundings.
Families are also the place where we learn by doing. For the essence of life, there is no home classroom. In the home, apprenticeship operates most ably.