Lithuania: Trust brings out the positive in people

 
In the Baltic Republic the director of a high school tells of his efforts to instil confidence in his students by going beyond appearances and appreciating the positive in them
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“During one of our long winter evenings, following an abundant snowfall, the courtyard of our school was completely covered in snow. I realized that neither the teachers nor the suppliers of the school canteen would be able to park their vehicles. I telephoned several companies, also a few private ones but they all responded that it would take another few days until they were able to shovel the snow, and at a considerable cost. Following a few more attempts, I accepted the offer of a neighbour who was willing to lend me his truck that had a snow plough.

As we began the job, we noticed that quite a bit of snow was accumulating along the edge of the snowplow that had to be removed manually.   At that hour of the night there was nobody to help us, only the elderly woman who cleaned the school. She informed me that there was a group of boys on the other side of the building, who had gathered to smoke. They were known to be the school daredevils, frequently absent, reported for thefts, fights. They were on the verge of being expelled.

When I asked her to go and ask for their help she was a bit shocked and refused. She feared that those delinquents might do her some harm. So I decided to go myself even though I didn’t expect them to help. I had already accepted that I would be the one cleaning away the snow from the snow plough.

At first the boys were a bit confused seeing me there, but they gave me a cordial greeting. I told them that they were my only hope, and that the school they also loved, would not be functioning the next day. Before I could finish my sentence, they began to shovel the snow, and they worked for over an hour! When I thanked them for their help they said: so, we’re not as bad as some teachers think. . . .

It confirmed again that there is something positive to be appreciated in every person, and it’s only a matter of finding the right opportunity for it to come out. A more trusting and open relationship has begun among us.”

This has been the experience of Paulius Martinaitis, a Focolare volunteer from Lithuania, who is  director of a high school in Vilnius.

“I learnt that offering young people an area of trust enables them to come out of those cages of transgressive behavior that sometimes imprison us with the labels we give to them.”

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  1. Clorinda Giorgi

    Bello !! Grazie, è proprio vero che l’esperienza vissuta comunica qualcosa di “vivo”

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