Saturday, April 13 2024

Giuseppe Fioravanti. Emergencia del Siglo: Pedagog ía y educación familiar. Ediciones Universidad de Los Andes,
Santiago de Chile, 2010.

On the initiative of the Family Institute of the University of Los
Andes (Chile), Professors Carmen Vidal and Carolina Martínez translated
the well-known Italian essay of Professor Giuseppe Fioravanti, Pedagogy and Family Education, into Spanish.
Originally published in 1983, the Spanish translation was recently
“discovered” two years later by Familyandmedia.
Although it does not specifically deal with the relationship between
family and media, we nonetheless consider it interesting for our
readers due to the importance of its fundamentals.

The recovery of man’s intrinsic dignity must begin in the nuclear
family, and can only be achieved if many roles that have been taken
away from the family are given back to it. This applies in a particular
way to the family’s educative role.

The book is divided into four chapters, and denounces the semantic
manipulation typical of modernity. Such manipulation makes the use of
words entirely subjective. Mere opinions clothed with slogans come to
replace real ideas that are formed through an actual knowledge of
things. In the end, names do not correspond to what a thing really is,
but only to passing fads. It is enough to think of the manipulation
today—or at least the confusion—before words such as marriage, freedom,
family, and love, among many others.

Mainly because of secularism, dialectics, and evolutionism, pedagogy
has been reduced to a mere educational method or technique. Its
scientific character has been forgotten, followed by all the
consequences that this implies.

By doubting the historical reality of Revelation, secularism has
undermined a large part of the truth about man and God that once
belonged to the common patrimony of humanity. It often seems as though
faith is no longer a personal encounter with Christ, but just one more
subject to teach in schools. This is the reason why so many Catholics
appear to have an inferiority complex when confronting today’s dominant
ideologies.

Dialectics, understood in the modern sense, is the greatest obstacle to
knowing reality, according to Fioravanti. Throughout the history of
thought, the word dialectics has known many meanings. It has finished
however, with an imposed association with fighting, conflict, and the
“negation of negations.” It often seems like every prominent author in
the field of Pedagogy must necessarily oppose those who came before
him, and discover a new recipe that differs from those already existing
before.

Evolution theory is the foundation of most contemporary pedagogical
currents. Despite its internal contradictions–and Darwin’s personal
recognition of its insufficiency–the evolutionary vision of man and
the world has been adopted as an unquestionable scientific theory. It
has had such an impact, that the purpose of education is no longer held
to be the contemplation of truth, but the adaptation to a world that is
constantly changing. As a consequence, knowing becomes instrumental,
while abilities and competence become ends in themselves.

According to Vidal, one of the two professors that translated
Fioravanti’s work, the book’s most important contributions are the
following points: knowledge of reality and the enhancement of a
person’s positive characteristics; the importance of family in the
formation of its members, and as the main actor in society’s
development; a close examination of the “principals of family
education” found in freedom, responsibility, and authority; the content
of family education; the human qualities; the social virtues:

gratitudo, vindicatio, veritas, affabilitas, liberalitas, pietas,
observantia, honor, oboedientia

.

It should be emphasized that the author holds the goal of family
education to be the growth and full development of the person. This end
however, does not only apply to children but extends to parents as
well, since family education is based on, and strengthened through, the
strength of the marriage bond. No objective and impartial educator
could ever deny that the parents’ permanent and active presence is
fundamental and indispensable for the proper development of a child.

According to Fioravanti, the fundamental human qualities—the
virtues—constitute the basis upon which good people are formed, capable
of leading their own family, and in as much as they are citizens, the
whole of society. For this reason, the only remedy that can oppose the
materialist offensive so dominant today is a united family equipped
with clear criteria for educating their children. The family’s
challenge then, consists in educating children in stable dispositions
that will allow them to acquire a way of being—a character—which will
lead them to fulfillment.

The family is the first and principle educator, because it is the only
place where members love each other for who they are, and not how or what they are. For this reason, it is very
important to educate children in all three dimensions of the human
being: the intellect, so that they have good criteria and know how to
distinguish good from evil; the will, because it is not enough to know
what is good, it must also be put into practice; the emotions, to
discover the joy of higher and more arduous goods. The practical
applications found in the last section of this book are essential to
concretely understanding the exciting task of education.

Reading this book will undoubtedly enrich the educational criteria of
those who still today believe the family to be the educational niche
par excellence: that is, the best place to be born, grow, and die as a
person.

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