Don Bosco asked Salesians to treat the young as their teachers. To learn the needs, hopes, and insecurities of young people should be paramount in the minds and the hearts of Salesians. This attitude of reverence is rooted in the recognition of God’s unfolding presence in every young life. The Salesian serves this inner spirit in the young by growing into the Gospel image of the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. The core of our method can be summed up in the words reason, religion and kindness. In adopting this good shepherd role four relationship skills are vital.
Respect - The mystery of God at the heart of the young demands that a Salesian be polite, honest, genuine and sensitive in relating to the young. The dignity of the young person should be obvious in the behaviour of the Salesian.
Understanding - A Salesian works with the limitations and potential of young people as groups and as individuals. Knowing their fears and strengths the Salesian shepherds them towards experiences that lead to life, preventing harm before it happens.
Affection - Engaging young people with the heart; establishing genuine, friendly relationships with the young people is essential to the Salesian work. Don Bosco said that affection sets up an electric current of confidence between adult and young person by which hearts are opened, hurts are healed and life unfolds for both the Salesian and the young person.
Humour - Don Bosco saw fun and laughter as an expression of faith in the God of life. In touching what is deepest in the young he preferred noise, laughter and chaos to heavy and solemn silences. Cheerfulness in adults and young people is a sign of holiness for Salesians.
The above four words spell out the Hebrew word for spirit: Ruah.