A Steadying Influence

A person influence

A Tamil poet has drawn an apt comparison from nature about the communication cleavage between parents and teenagers. The teenager is like a ripening tamarind fruit .The child is like the green tamarind. When the tamarind is green and raw the skin and the flesh stick close to each other. As the fruit matures inside there develops a gap between the fleshy fruit and the shell. The same kind of communication gap occurs in teenage between parents and teenagers. And yet this is the time the teenager needs a good, wise and experienced friend more than any other time. This friend should have gained the full confidence of the teenager because at this time he is extremely shy, self-conscious and unsure of himself. He needs a friend who will understand him, who will not condemn him but will be a steadying influence on his disturbed years.

At this time the teenager is trying to find his identity, to form  his self-image. He is confused and unable to understand all that is happening in him. As he narrates his dreams and fears to the trusted friend without fear of ridicule he is holding a mirror to himself and clarifying his identity.


The teenager will benefit greatly if he is fully open and trustful with his guide. This can save him from the many perils, pitfalls and scars of teenage. Since in teenage blood is hot and reason is clouded by emotions the unguided teenager impetuously leaps first then looks behind. That’s why a typical teenager gets into many scrapes and may carry lifelong battle scars.

Don Bosco the great educator of the young was such a great friend especially to poor and disadvantaged youngsters. He used to gladly visit apprentices, brick layers, carpenters, chimney sweeps in their work places in the industrial city of Turin, in the nineteenth century, exchange kind words with them, enquirer after their welfare, temper the harsh discipline of their employers, secure them better working conditions and provide for their relaxation and value education. He used to visit also juvenile delinquents in remand homes often and succeeded in snatching hundreds from the clutches of crime and prisons and set them on the road to a decent and respectable life. Were it not for him their stay in the prison in their prime years would have only made them graduate to bigger crimes on their release. These youth had a lifelong close attachment to their friend Don Bosco and they were ready to do anything for him.


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