Tuesday, June 18 2024

It is already late morning. The coffee cup on my desk is now cold. I
collect the last notes scattered here and there and look quickly at the
time. I have to call. Just two rings – long and metallic – and immediately
a female voice responds to me. Kind and firm. It is Rosaria D’Anna. We met a few months earlier in Rome, to
talk about social policies and family. Like a volcano in Campania, her area
of origin, she was immediately revealed herself to be a magma of ideas and
proposals. So when I thought about an interview about the importance of
charisma and leadership in today’s society, I immediately thought of her,
to let me tell you about her experience. Rosaria D’Anna has been National
President for more than a year and a half of the AGE – Association of Parents in Italy. She is a wife, a mother
of two girls, but above all a parent who is strongly aware and motivated by
the importance of being an active part in the educational process of her
children. And her vocation to family education is fully in line with her
role as President of the Association of Parents in Italy.

Rosaria, Pope Francis in a general audience a few years ago, dedicated
to charisms in the Church, said that the charismatic person is the one
who has received a gift from grace, a gift that must be put forth as a
service to all. Although the Pope refers to ecclesial institutions, the
judgment also applies, in a broader sense, to every association that
wants to serve the common good by means of a mission or by good use of
a talent. How much do you recognize yourself in this sentence?

I am fully in agreement. Charisma is a gift that is starts at birth. Who
has the grace to receive it, has the moral duty to put it to use in his
social circles, to serve the common good, certainly not to command or do as
they please on a whim. I do not know if I’m a charismatic person. I rather
feel like an aggregating person, who works to unite his community. In my
case, more than 5 thousand parents from all over Italy,
are members of AGO, our association. My vision of Association is strongly
collegial. I like to build common synergies, with collaborators and
associates. The key is to be credible and always available
. If we want to be a point of reference for others, we must first and
foremost win their trust day by day, with concrete facts and not just
words, upholding the commitment made. To always be on the ground, available
and ready for dialogue in a perspective that is always proactive and

I agree with you. However any institution over time runs the risk of
losing this “fire” that I now sense from you. In fact, the management
of everyday life risks normalizing one’s own mission and lessening the
initial spirit. The danger is to lose creativity and ideas, stop
producing content to become simple incubators of processes, bureaucracy
and relationships. How can you avoid all this and keep a proper
balance? Can you still be alive and creative in the production of
ideas, contents and solutions for the community to which you refer
after so many years?

The risk that an association with time loses its fire it had at the
beginning absolutely exists. It’s normal. The important thing is that it
does not lose its way, its identity and that it does not betray its
associates and the whole community of reference for pure political gain and
convenience. Of course, sometimes, there is the risk of wasting time on
paperwork and bureaucracy, taking away force and energy for the concrete
realization of projects. What we must avoid is becoming an empty box,
devoid of ideas, proposals and contents. Detachment from reality and
survival as an end in itself is the death of any institution. To avoid this
danger, from my position, I try as much as possible to create relationships
with the territories, to understand their wants and needs. The A.G.E. was
founded 50 years ago in the outskirts, not in the palaces, listening to
problems and welcoming the initiatives of many parents and families. This
is our mission, and this is what I want to continue doing.

Among the main tasks of a leader, there is certainly that of motivating
and training young people, not only from the point of view of technical
preparation, but also in the transmission of the mission, values and
convictions. What is your idea of formation?

My idea of ​​formation is very simple: to educate by example. I say this as a wife and mother.
You cannot pretend to climb on a soapbox and start giving lectures on
values ​​and behavior. We simply need to set a good example ourselves.
Young people, contrary to what is often thought, are very attentive to the
behavior of their parents. I’ll give you an example. If kids see their
parents talking on the phone at the table during meals, it is sure that
they will start to do it too. They will feel, as it were, implicitly
authorized to do so. If instead they see that their parents do not bring
their mobile phone to the table or keep at least keep it off the table
itself, they will certainly expect a reprimand if they should use their
phones at the table. It is not a matter of prohibiting one thing or not,
but of simply setting an example.

Saving conviviality at the table

in the family, is just one of the many small gestures that a parent must
do using common sense. I meet many people every day. And I realize more and
more, with great regret, that families no longer speak. We do not read any
more. We do not write any more. We do not look at ourselves anymore. We
ignore each other. At most we call or send texts, perhaps from one room to
another in the house. All this with an increasingly fragmented and
unstructured language made up of only “yes, no, ok, ok”, smilies and
emoticons. We have to go back to the healthy and old way of talking from
the past. My mission is to continually help these parents to understand
that we are not doing well, we are not heading the right direction. We need

make them understand how many values ​​and healthy behaviors we have
lost along the way in the last generations

, and how important it is to go back to talking between ourselves within
the family.

Is there a hidden dream?

Among many ideas and projects that we have in progress, there is a dream:
to get Italian schools back to the qualitative level of a few decades ago,
when the teacher was a social reference figure for the whole community,
respected by both pupils and parents. I’m talking about the school where
the manual skills were taught, the simple one of the holiday cards or
projects, Christmas crafts for example. Little projects that parents then
hung up proudly in the living room. The dexterity of ancient traditions and
know-how, which was of great help in the formation of character and virtues, now set aside from the
dominant educational model in favor of a poor and unproductive notionism.
But to do this we must go back to investing in and training teachers, often
under paid, precarious and abandoned to guide themselves. We must fight for
a better educational system, because the shaping of our children is the
noblest goal of every society. I hope it does not remain just a dream.


What to watch tonight with the family? A wonderful documentary about art!


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