We’ve interviewed Patrizio Romano, President of the association Far-Famiglia (Making Family). It arose from a cordial conversation about the issue of raising our children in today’s society, considering the often difficult and controversial issue of using technology, media, and books in the family.
Patrizio, we often hear that today, despite the enormous possibilities present in our society, the education of our children is in crisis. What is Far-Famiglia and how does it enter into such a context?
Far-Famiglia is an educational project directed to parents. Fernando Corominas, who also founded The European Institute of Educational Studies in Madrid in 1991 in Spain. This project aims to give parents access to the contributions made to pedagogics in recent years, in order to enhance parental education of children at home.
Knowledge of the “sensitive periods” (in which a child undergoes his natural physical, intellectual, and core value development) enables a timely and effective stimulus. When this stimulus is combined with a positive family environment, an attentive awareness of the child’s personality, and an adequate motivation, parents are able to be active and enthusiastic protagonists in educating their children.
Far-Famiglia spread to Italy thanks to some families from Brescia, who in 1998 invited Fernando Corominas to hold the first courses that were later continued by his close collaborators. From there, Far-Famiglia has spread to many cities in Italy. Far-Famiglia is also quite spread throughout Europe, in Spain and Germany, to Russia, the United States of America, Mexico, and almost all countries of Latin America.
Who are your target groups and what is your main purpose?
Far-Famiglia is for parents, teachers, and all those who have an educational responsibility towards children or minors. Our main purpose is to foster the formation of parents as educators, so that they may form their children into free and responsible people who know how to choose the good and commit themselves to bring it to fulfillment; that their children may become people with strong and solid characters.
What does it mean to educate our children today? What are the dangers, difficulties, and risks?
The dangers, difficulties, and risks for the families who want to educate their own children well are quite numerous and apparent to all: from work that increasingly absorbs parents to the point of their absence in the family, to a lack of work that throws many parents into disarray; from various media that transmit values contrary to the good of the person, to a lack of family policies.
Nevertheless, Far-Famiglia wants to support the parents’ efforts and encourage them, because it is possible to educate children well, thanks to innovative education that has brought forth incredible contributions. Though our parents grew up in a more family-friendly social context, they didn’t have the vast pedagogical patrimony that we have today. It is certainly necessary to form oneself well, and it’s definitely worthwhile because our children are the most important part of our lives.
In addition to the personal formation of parents, it is nevertheless necessary that families network with each other in order to amplify the positive educational effects.
How important to an educational project is parents’ attentiveness towards their children’s media use (TV, Internet, video games…)? Is it more important that parents set limits and filters, or is it better for parents to encourage a self-regulated/ self-control approach of their own?
The media, as wide spread as it is, offers great opportunities on one hand, and on the other, favors individual behaviors that do not strengthen family unity. I personally know parents who have instituted “digital time”, which must be inferior to “family time”. Whoever uses the computer at home has to mark down the time dedicated to playing and to working. I have found that this approach helps parents accompany their children in an effective and aware use of these technologies, which are naturally supported by suitable filters as well.
Is there a book you would suggest to our readers?
Certainly the books Educare oggi (Educating Today) and Come educare la volontà (How to Teach the Will) thoroughly explain the educational project of Far-Familia. The language is simple and direct. Examples and dialogues complement pedagogical principles, making them concrete and tangible.
There are more books focused on children’s age groups aimed to help parents carry out an efficacious and timely education of their children, from early childhood to adolescence.
Then I would recommend books written to help couples discover the enormous potential wrapped up in the conjugal relationship: Matrimonio e felicità (Marriage and Happiness) e La comunicazione in famiglia (Communication in the Family).
Each book includes exercises that help parents to be concrete in their educational efforts. For those who are interested in exploring these topics more deeply, we suggest the following link: http://www.farfamiglia.it/libri/catalogo.php .