AMIGONIAN PEDAGOGY

“Compassion results in transforming the once wild wolf into a tamed sheep…”
(Luis Amigo E.P. 26 – 11, 19)

Luis Amigo, initiator of a new charism within the Church and founder of two congregations dedicated to carrying out messages of love, hope and joy into the world of marginalized youth, was more than anything else, a pedagogist. His pedagogy’s fundamental basis is the Scriptures as well as the teachings of the Great Master.

Luis Amigo discovered and experienced in the apostolate that he exercised among prison inmates, a “transforming and redemptive force of love and Christian compassion.” This discovery made him adopt the living philosophy of the Scriptures as the ideological basis of his own pedagogical system. He learned this pedagogy from Jesus Christ and St. Francis of Assisi.

The originality and the creativity of Luis Amigo in pedagogy developed over a gradual adoption of his acceptance of the pedagogy of Christ especially in the field of the marginalized youth. In the background of any pedagogical system, care has to be taken to distinguish the following important points:

  • The objectives to be achieved;
  • The means to be utilized and;
  • The right educator to apply these means and to achieve these objectives and goals.

When one analyses the very nature of the amigonian pedagogy system of teaching, one must be careful to detect the Christian values immediately, the very same principles that are basis of this pedagogical system.

The last and final goal which is being pursued through the amigonian pedagogical method regarding the education of marginalized youth has to be the same as that of the Scriptures itself. Jesus looked for the gradual transformation and conversion of every individual to the little child “if their childhood is to be perennial…”

The amigonian pedagogical method of teaching is to be found where children and youth – immatured or prematured due to some very unfortunate life experiences, as well as hard work, starvation, vicious misery, it is also common among children without toys, young people with no ambition to support themselves, who are “anywhere, round the corner of everything” and “who live through thick and thin.”

The amigonian pedagogical method of teaching is to center on children and youth whose hardened hearts have been specifically directed towards the “ego” of the child in the youth. All means, therefore, are worth trying for these people as far as their egoistical natures are taken into consideration.

The amigonian pedagogical method of teaching proposes the following points to be taken into account for the category of child or youth:

  • Turn him upside down
  • Reinstall in him the capability of experiencing hope, joy and to smile.
  • Reinstall in him the capability of looking at life phenomena with a renewed interest and compassion.
  • Reinstall in him his long lost ability of loving and caring, the self- awareness of his own personal dignity for the child of God he is.
  • Recreate him into a brother of all other men and women.
  • Enable him to feel like a child again.

The amigonian pedagogy calls for the kind of educator who is closely characterized in the pedagogy of Christ, in the great figure of the Good Shepherd. Luis Amigo asks his sons and daughters to “go especially for the lost and wayward sheep.”

This model is the only and right one for an educator:

  • To enter into groups with a profound knowledge of the pupils; with knowledge that comes from the heart and seems to be the result of a deep sharing of the very life of an educator with that of the pupil.
  • To call pupils by their names, that is, to become personal and individualized in the treatment of each and every one of the pupils.
  • To be with the pupils giving his own example for them to follow, offering them the same life examples as witness of what is being preached to them.
  • To give to the pupils the utmost of himself, to live out the ideals everyday and every hour for the service of God, of every pupil, regardless how many hours a day the educator has to labor for them. To give your life for others, in other words, “to dedicate yourself fully to your supreme task, a feature that has always distinguished the religious followers of the amigonian spirituality.

Go for the most difficult among the pupils; the amigonian mission presupposes “to love most those who need it most,” live out your life for those who need you most – those who are the outcast and low class.

Be happy with your pupils. That joy equals to a full measure of loving and devotion – a job that is simply not like any other job.

Only from this point of view of complete devotion, can the educator slowly but surely become an integral part of the life of his pupil, the fact that would inevitably lead to the “complete turning around” in the life of the pupil.

The amigonian pedagogical method similar to the method of Jesus used in teaching good to the people, is to be compounded by the following:

  • Guide yourself by love and compassion. Hard work, harsh gestures are worth nothing if one has to be in mind an educational objective. If this happens, an individual will withdraw more into himself. Only love, understanding and abundant compassion can soften any cruel heart.

Luis Amigo recommends this method to all of his devoted sons. He practiced it himself many times and in many ways and also had excellent results. The phrase used as headline in this chapter sums up that wise thought.

  • Do not be rushed, but methodical. In education, and even more in the process of re- adaption, one cannot be rushed but should follow a method of teaching. One is to give time to the pupil to slowly continue assimilating things one needs him to understand, and at the same time, the educator is to keep on watching every gesture of positive response from the pupil, resulting from the confidence the educator has invested in the pupil.
  • Gradually enable the pupil to be aware of the tasks he is being entrusted with. The pupil himself, so to say, is to be the unique and principal agent and recipient of the educational method he is undergoing. Many useful educational techniques fail when the pupil is not given enough time to become fully conscious of them and to assess and seek them on his own will.

All other educational means can become harmful and irrelevant if the pupil himself is not in a condition to receive it.